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Sabres Win First Game!


Watching from the bench Friday night, Buffalo goaltender Dominik Hasek saw what he could have used recently. Plenty of goals, good luck and the Sabres' first win.

Geoff Sanderson and Erik Rasmussen each scored twice as Buffalo got its first victory since Game 5 of the Stanley Cup finals, 7-3 over the Carolina Hurricanes.

"If we were playing with a Stanley Cup hangover, that must have been one hell of a party we had," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said.

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  • Martin Biron made 17 saves in place of Hasek and Michael Peca scored his first goal of the season for the Sabres (1-5-2).

    "The important thing is that we won the game," Hasek said. "I'm glad for Marty; he did a very good job."

    Hasek was benched for the second time following Buffalo's loss to Nashville on Wednesday, but will start Saturday in Ottawa. Hasek, the two-time league MVP and winner of the Vezina Trophy five of the past six years, was pulled twice from games this season after allowing soft goals.

    "Dom's taken such a beating over the last few days for having a couple of bad games," Sanderson said. "His taking all this heat deflected a lot of pressure off the rest of us."

    The Sabres directed the pressure on the other net this time.

    Curtis Brown and Miroslav Satan also scored for Buffalo, while Sami Kapanen scored twice and Gary Roberts added a goal for Carolina (3-2-3).

    "The forwards did as much work in the other team's end as we've done in maybe two or three games combined," said Ruff, whose team scored its most goals since a 7-1 win over Calgary on Jan. 2.

    This time the bounces went Buffalo's way, too, as its first two goals came on shots that deflected in off Hurricanes goaltender Arturs Irbe.

    Irbe was yanked after allowing three goals on 13 shots in the first period. "I definitely didn't help, but it wasn't like I was struggling or not making plays," said Irbe, who was replaced by Eric Fichaud to start the second.

    Fichaud fared even worse, allowing four goals on 15 shots. He is expected to start for the Hurricanes in Pittsburgh on Saturday night.

    Sanderson's shot from deep in the left corner deflected in off Irbe at 2:25 of the first period, and Satan's slap shot at 9:22 struck Irbe, popped up and dropped in for a 2-1 lead.

    "Those bounces don't happen very often, maybe once a year," Irbe said.

    Carolina scored on the power play to tie the game 1-1 at 6:02 when Roberts took a pass in front from Martin Gelinas and beat Biron with a backhander.

    The Hurricanes had other opportunities in the first period but were thwarted by Biron and bad luck. On one occasion, Biron was caught out of the net but slid back just in time to stop a shot by Ron Francis that struck the goaltender in the back.

    Biron, called up from the team's AHL affiliate in Rochester, N.Y., allowed two goals on Carolina's first 11 shots. He was caught again when he wandered too far from the crease and defenseman Jason Woolley was forced to make a save.

    "You get behind the net and these guys are coming at you a little faster than in the American Hockey League," said Biron, 22, who was 1-2-1 for the Sabres last season.

    Peca won a faceoff and Sanderson blasted the puck in off defenseman Jeff Daniels on the power play for a 3-1 lead with 2:14 left in the first. It was the third goal in two games for Sanderson, who snapped a 12-game regular-season scoreless streak with a goal against Nashville on Wednesday.

    Kapanen pulled the Hurricanes within a goal with his one-timer from Francis four minutes into the second period. Rasmussen reached to poke in Stu Barnes' blocked wraparound attempt to restore the Sabres' two-goal lead at 11:52.

    Brown made it 5-2 with 2:56 left in the period when he took the puck from forward Robert Kron along the boards in the Hurricanes' zone and rifled a wrist shot over Fichaud's glove.

    Peca scored at 34 seconds of the third and Rasmussen tapped in a long pass from defenseman Richard Smehlik at the left post at 7:35 to make it 7-2. It was the first multiple-goal game of Rasmussen's career. That was followed by Kapanen's second goal with 5:51 to play.

    ©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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