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Sabres--Devils End Dead Even

Hours after acquiring Joe Juneau for the stretch run and getting a late game-tying goal from Miroslav Satan, the Buffalo Sabres came close to losing the franchise, Dominik Hasek.

Hasek twisted his upper back in a goal-crease collison with Brendan Morrison of the Devils in the final minute of overtime in the Sabres' 1-1 with New Jersey on Tuesday night.

Morrison landed on "The Dominator's" head and neck as he lay on his back with his head pointed toward center ice during an odd-man rush by the Devils with 48 seconds to go. "

"I felt a big pain between my shoulders," said Hasek, who kicked his legs and waved his arms while prone on the ice. "I was a little afraid to move, but I could feel everything."

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  • Morrison said he was tripped by Sabres defenseman Jay McKee.

    "There is no way I would intentionally slide into the goaltender, especially when we had a good break, a three-on-one," Morrison said.

    Hasek lay on the ice for two to three minutes before getting up to finish the game. He was treated in the locker room after the game with ice, and had a red mark from his neck to below his shoulder blades.

    "The doctor said it is very important how I feel tomorrow," said Hasek, who stopped 31 shots in another MVP-type performance. "It's very difficult to say how exactly what happened. Nothing is broken. Maybe something is messed up. I don't know."

    Hasek missd 12 games earlier this year with a groin injury, returning last Friday night.

    The Devils almost won in the final seconds of overtime, but a backhander by defenseman Scott Niedermayer went into the net seconds after the final horn.

    "We had a lot of scoring opportunities and he (Hasek) made some good saves, which is unfortunate," Devils coach Robbie Ftorek said.

    Buffalo goalie Dominik Hasek stopped 31 shots to preserve the tie.>
    Buffalo goalie Dominik Hasek stopped 31 shots to preserve the tie. (AP)

    The tie extended the Sabres' unbeaten streak to four games (3-0-1) and it prevented New Jersey center Sergei Nemchinov from being a hero in his first game with the Devils.

    Acquired on Monday night from the Islanders for a fourth-round draft pick, Nemchinov seemingly had given Martin Brodeur all the support he needed by scoring early in the second period.

    However, Sabres defenseman Jean-Luc Grand-Pierre got a loose puck in the right corner and passed to Satan behind the left side of the net. Satan came out and flipped a backhander over Brodeur's shoulder with 3:37 to play for his 34th goal of the season and fifth in the last three games.

    It was Grand-Pierre's first NHL point.

    "We fell a little bit asleep," Devils defenseman Ken Daneyko said. "Satan is the only guy on that team that can probably score from there. That's a goal-scorer's goal to go shelf with a backhander from there."

    Niedermayer clanged a shot off the goalpost in the closing minutes and Hasek made great saves in close against Morrison and Patrik Elias two minutes into the overtime. Nemchinov had a great chance to score on the play Hasek was hurt, but he chose to make a pass across the crease.

    Juneau arrived in time for the game and had one good chance on a second-period power play.

    As usual Hasek was the star for the Sabres, stopping two chances in close by Jason Arnott in the second period.

    Although the Devils outshot Buffalo 10-4 in the first period, they didn't take the lead until early in the second when Nemchinov converted a nice setup by Sergei Brylin at 2:57. Hasek actually stopped Nemchinov in close seconds earlier, but Brlin got the rebound and found his fellow Russian for Nemchinov's ninth goal of the season.

    The Devils played without three of their top players: defensemen Scott Stevens (groin injury) and Lyle Odelein (knee) and center Bobby Holik, who was serving a two-game suspension for slashing Igor Korolev on Saturday.

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