Miroslav Satan was a holdout until the day of the season opener. Now, consider the Buffalo Sabres' forward a standout -- and worth every penny of his one-year $850,000 contract.
"It's nice to score and contribute to the team," Satan said after scoring twice to lead the Sabres to a 2-1 win over the New York Islanders on Monday night. "As long as I'm doing that, I'm a pretty comfortable guy."
Satan, who signed his contract in the airport manager's office the day the Sabres took off for the season opener in Dallas on Oct. 10, was a dangerous guy as far as the Islanders were concerned.
He scored twice and Dwayne Roloson gave Buffalo another strong performance in net for the Sabres, who won two in a row for the first time since early January.
Satan, now with 31 goals, scored a power-play goal and a short-handed goal. He also became the first 30-goal scorer for Buffalo since Pat LaFontaine scored 40 in the 1995-1996 season. "It's not easy filling LaFontaine's shoes," Satan said.
Bryan Smolinski scored for the Islanders.
Roloson made his 12th start of the season and his second straight start in place of injured Dominik Hasek, who has been nursing a strained groin since Feb. 17. Roloson made 23 saves and has allowed one goal in each of his last two starts.
"I give a lot of credit to our defensemen," Roloson said. "The defense blocked a lot of shots and cleared the second shots. And the forwards got back and broke up a lot of three-on-twos and two-on-ones."
Islanders goaltender Wade Flaherty, who made 20 saves in his first start since December, credited Roloson. "Hats off to Roloson," Flaherty said. "He played well."
The Islanders extended their winless streak to eight (0-6-2) on the first stop of a four-game road trip. They are winless in 10 of their last 11 games and are destined to fall short of the playoffs for the fifth straight season.
Satan scored with 1:02 left on a power play set up by Robert Reichel's holding penalty at 6:56 of the first period. A pass from Peca sailed across the slot and deflected off Islanders defenseman Sergei Nemchinov's stick to Satan for a 1-0 lead. The goal extended Satan's point streak to four games.
"It shows how responsible he's become at both ends of the rink," said Brian Holzinger, who assisted on Satan's second goal. "He's going to be an important guy down the stretch."
NEmchinov nearly atoned for his mistake seconds later after Satan coughed up the puck. Nemchinov drew Roloson out of the net, but nobody was there to convert his centering pass. The Islanders managed only three shots in the first period.
Satan made it 2-0 at 7:40 of the third period with a short-handed goal. Satan made a nice move around Ted Donato in the right circle and shot the puck between Flaherty's pads.
"I was trying to wait and make a play, maybe pass to somebody," Satan said. "I didn't see anybody, so I stepped inside and shot it myself."
Smolinski cut it to 2-1 with a goal 31 seconds later. Eric Brewer took the initial shot from the high slot. Roloson came out to cut down the angle and Smolinski pounced on the rebound before the goalie had a chance to back up.
"Just to win two in a row, it's a stepping stone for us," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. "We had the opportunities to bury them and didn't, and that could have cost us."
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