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Sabres Central

Dumont and Hasek batter Bruins
By Rick Anderson
December 12, 2000

J.P. Dumont gets a shot off on Peter Skudra. Dumont would score two on the former Sabres goalie, along with an empty netter.
[AP Photo/Winslow Townson]

He's scored every Sabres goal in the past two games. J.P. Dumont has tallied 5 times in the last two Buffalo Sabres games and his work helped the Sabres beat the Boston Bruins 3-0 Tuesday night in Boston. Dumont, the "throw in" in the Gilmour-Grosek trade last March, has been on fire all year, especially the last two games.

Dumont scored his 13th goal of the season when he recorded a natural hat trick. J.P. scored the winning goal 3:25 into the second period when he passed to Maxim Afinogenov and got one back from the Russian. Dumont beat former Sabres backup goalie Peter Skudra to give Buffalo the lead and the victory. Two minutes in the third, Dumont scored his second when his backhander slipped though the pads of Skudra. He completed his hat trick when he stole the puck at center ice with the goalie pulled and he broke in all alone. It was an easy goal for Dumont, but fitting that he did complete the hat trick.

"We're just having fun," Dumont said about his linemates. "Everybody can score on our line. So it feels pretty good when you know that everyone has a chance to score on your line."

Dominik's Zone

Dominik Hasek recorded his third shutout of the season. He was upset over allowing 5 goals in the Sabres last game against the Rangers. Three of those came in the third period and caused the Sabres to lose a game that they were in control of halfway through the second period. Hasek practiced hard over the weekend to get his head back into the frame of mind that won him all those Vezina Trophies years past.

Hasek made 22 saves against the Bruins and was tested early as the Bruins put 9 shots on him in the first period. Some of his saves were brilliant to say the least.

"The important thing was how he responded from a poor game in New York," said Sabres coach Lindy Ruff. "They scored five goals on him, but he made three or four tough saves in the first period and he wasn't tested often after that. I had all the confidence in the world that he would bounce back. He's going to find that zone. Tonight, it looked like early on that he wasn't going to get beat."

Former Sabre Dixon Ward finds out how hard it is to score against his old teammate as Dominik Hasek stops Ward's shot and covers up. Hasek recorded his third shutout of the season against the Bruins..
[AP Photo/Winslow Townson]

Hasek was dueling the former Sabres backup of the start of the season, Peter Skudra. Skudra also did a respectable job in goal for the Bruins and made 21 saves before he got pulled after Dumont scored his second goal of the night only two minutes into the second stanza.

"He made the saves he had to make," complimented former Sabres forward Dixon Ward. "He played real solid and didn't give us anything. We just can't leave anything in our zone and we did. We have to find a way to get it past him and we didn't do that tonight."

One of Hasek's major problems this year has been consistency. One game he looks like the old Dominator, the next one he looks like a goalie about to retire. Has he finally found his groove"

"I don't know," Hasek replied. "I've said to myself before, "Now I'm back in the zone' or whatever. It's happened before. I don't know what to expect. I just hope I can carry it over to the next game."

Marty Biron is getting a good look at the master in action and it has to be a valuable learning experience.

"It didn't look like he was working hard, said Biron. "But he was making unbelievable saves. Me and Rob Ray were sitting there saying no way was anything going in."

Dumont Power

The biggest question being brought up this entire season so far (outside of "when is Peca going to sign) is how could the Black Hawks dump Dumont? He is turning out to be the biggest Sabres piracy of the Black Hawks since they heisted Hasek. Dumont, who now has 13 goals, is leading the team in scoring and he looks like he may get even better. In fact, he may just be that sniper that the Sabres have been desperately searching for all these years.

"He's got great hands," said Stu Barnes, who is teamed with him on a line. "He's got great offensive talent. He has good speed. He's patient with the puck, which you don't see a lot of young guys have. And he's making a good effort to be responsible at both ends of the ice."

Dumont likes scoring the goals, but likes the winning feeling much better.

"It feels much better tonight than scoring two goals and losing like what happened the other night against the Rangers," said Dumont. "Also, Dominik's shutout was big for him and for us."

While the Sabres other scorers suddenly going south, Dumont has picked up more than his load and has carried the team on his shoulders. Now it's time for the other goal-getters like Miroslav Satan, Dave Andreychuk, Stu Barnes, Curtis Brown and Maxim Afinogenov to start lighting the red lamp.

The Sabres next game is against Carolina on Friday and they return home for a game against Florida the next night. Doug Gilmour has been slowly getting better and it is possible that he may be ready for that game. Now it's up to Ruff to determine if he wants to chance playing Gilmour or give him some more rest.

Sabres Talk

Bruins coach Mike Keenan was not happy with the Bruins performance against the Sabres.

"They haven't learned how to work mentally to prepare themselves for every game, every night, as you can see,'' said Bruins coach Mike Keenan. "`It's a real roller-coaster ride. You just have a higher expectation when you're playing a divisional game, and when an opportunity like this is wasted it's frustrating."

It takes two to tangle. Sabres' Eric Boulton and the Bruins' Andrei Nazarov hold each other's shirt before they start landing punches in the final period..
[AP Photo/Winslow Townson]

"We were playing in a very tight, close-checking game. We didn't generate any offense on the power play when we had the opportunities in the first two periods. And we haven't learned to work through the frustration of playing a real tight-checking, close-to-the-vest type of game because the level of frustration is interfering with our ability to get the job done."

Michael Peca is nowhere close to signing with the Sabres, as the two sides are still $1 million apart, even after the Sabres upped the ante a little over the weekend. The Sabres increased their offer from $2.5 million per season for four years to a $2.6 million for the first three years and an optional $2.8 million in the fourth year. There were also bonuses of $300,000 if Peca scored 30 goals or won the Selke Trophy again. The offer was flatly rejected by the Sabres holdout captain. Peca is intent to play for Canada in the Spengler Cup in Davos, Switzerland in late December.

"It's part of moving on with my life," Peca said. "I can't sit here and wait for Buffalo to do something. They need to know that I'm ready and willing to move on with my life and pursue other options. This is one that I was very fortunate to be able to take advantage of."

Peca also voiced great skepticism about every signing with the Sabres.

"I don't think it will ever get to the point where I'll be close to signing with Buffalo, so that makes the decision (to go) quite easy," Peca said.

Even through all the negativity he voiced about signing or playing with Buffalo again, Peca is still under the impression that the Sabres may be ready to act soon.

"I think they see they've got a window of opportunity with Dominik and Doug Gilmour and several other players and they want to make a real strong push for a Cup this year and I don't think sitting on me is helping them in any way," Peca said. "I'm sure ownership will urge them to do something. I'm sure Darcy (Regier) will want to do something himself, either signing me or moving me to get something that will help them down the road."

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