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Sabres Central

Sabres stomp Sens 4-1
By Rick Anderson
February 28, 2001

The Senators' Jason York and Buffalo's Chris Taylor go at it in the second period during a big showdown of the Northeastern teams in which the Sabres won 4-1, taking the season series by the same number.
[AP PHOTO/Jonathan Hayward]

The Buffalo Sabres started their Road Trip from Hell the right way. They beat the Ottawa Senators 4-1 and won the season series by the same margin. The Sabres were helped by a two-goal night by J.P. Dumont, while Dominik Hasek came up with a great game, making 29 saves. The Sabres seem to play their best hockey against the top Eastern Conference teams this year. However, the Sabres will have a severe test on their hands against the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday before taking on Dallas and Colorado this weekend.

Dumont, who had started the season on fire and suddenly went into a two-month drought, scored his 20th goal of the season on a powerplay over halfway through the second period. It came 8 minutes after scoring his first goal, which turned out to be the game winner. Dumont, who was acquired in the Doug Gilmour for Michal Grosek trade last March, has had a roller coaster year. One thing is clear though, he is definitely in the big league for good.

"The last two years, I didn't play much," commented Dumont. "I didn't have a lot of chances in Chicago and now it feels pretty good to have a chance and reach that level. I'm going to try to keep going. The next step is 25, and after that, you never know, maybe 30."

The Sabres have been waiting for Dumont to show his early season form and start hitting the back of the net again. Sabres coach Lindy Ruff had confidence that Dumont would come out of his slump and regain his scoring touch.

"When I got here (in Buffalo this season), I got a lot of ice time and a lot of confidence," Dumont continued. "I just try to do my best on the ice."

Explosive Second Period

After the two teams played their traditional scoreless first period, the fans at Ottawa's Corel Centre were treated with an unusual fireworks display. The first minute of the second stanza saw two quick strikes by both teams before most fans had time to get back to their seats from the intermission.

Shawn McEachern notched the game's first goal when he split Hasek's zone to up the Sens up to a quick 1-0 lead only 41 seconds into the period. That lead would last only nine seconds as Erik Rasmussen scored on Senators goalie Patrick Lalime after Vladimir Tsyplakov rang a shot off the post. Then it turned out to be the J.P. Dumont show. Scoring goals at the 4:16 and 12:18 marks, Dumont put the Sabres in the lead they would never relinquish. Tsyplakov put the game completely out of reach when he scored on a breakaway in the third period with only 47 seconds left in the game.

Hasek, who had a poor weekend, giving up 8 goals in 5 periods, was determined to make amends for his less than adequate showing.

"I had a couple of bad games before the All-Star game," said Hasek . "But I'm very pleased with the way the team and I have played for the past month. I just hope I continue to play like that."

The Sabres will need Hasek at his peak form to get through the gruelling road trip that has stops at Philadelphia, Dallas, Colorado and ends in Boston next Tuesday. Having won the first of the five games is a feather in the cap for Ruff and his skaters. The goal of every road trip is to play at least .500 hockey. If they get one more win and a tie duirng that stretch, they will accomplish that. The Boston game at the end of the trip, could be the Sabres best shot for their second win. The Flyers have done to the Sabres so far this season as Buffalo has done to the Senators and the Devils. The physical play of the Flyers seems to stymie the smaller Sabres and Thursdays game will be a huge challenge for the Sabres.

Sabres Talk

Dumont knew that this was an important game to start off the long stretch.

"It was important for us to start off this road trip (on a positive)," said Dumont . "This is probably the toughest road trip any team in the East has to go through."

"Our power play moved it around pretty good," continued Dumont. "The last time we played (Tampa Bay), we really didn't have the control we had tonight. The other teams are going to have to play disciplined against us, because we are going to score on the power play."

Hasek is appreciated the sudden Sabres "explosion" of goals the past few games.

"It's because we're scoring more goals," said Hasek about being successful. "It's not only me making saves, but we're also scoring three or four goals. Today, if you score four goals, you have a good chance to win."

The Senators thought they were ready to roll when they got one past Hasek early in the second period.

"We scored the first goal tonight and I thought it was a good sign," said Lalime, who made 16 saves. "Then they came right back and scored."

Ottawa coach Jacques Martin knew that as soon as the Sabres started lighting the goal light, his team was in trouble.

"They play well as a team, their goals-against shows that," Ottawa coach Jacques Martin said. "You've got to play them close to the vest. You can't give them the goals we gave them tonight."

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