Site hosted by Build your free website today!
Sabres Central

Hasek wins first game as Sabres storm past Hurricanes
By Rick Anderson
October 26, 2000

Dominik Hasek clears the puck away from Rod Brind'Amour during first period action. Hasek went on to stop 30 of 31 shots and recorded his first victory of the season.
[AP Photo/Don Heupel]

Dominik Hasek decided enough was enough. Tired of hearing all the complaints from fans and media alike, Hasek came out determined to prove that he still can be one of the better goalies in the NHL. The Dominator went 2 ½ periods before allowing a goal and helped the Buffalo Sabres beat the Carolina Hurricanes 4-1 in Buffalo's HSBC Arena Wednesday night.

Hasek had a lot of support in getting his first win of the season. The offense, which has had some success this season, came out in a flurry by taking a 2-0 lead and the Sabres never looked back. Hasek had plenty of support in this one. Even though he faced the same number of shots as Tyler Moss, the backup goalie for the Hurricanes, Hasek had a much easier time of it. The 30 saves he made were enough to get his head into the game.

"It's a much better feeling coming into the locker room after winning a game," said Hasek. "My losing streak is over. My goal is to continue playing like that. My teammates made it much easier for me. It's better for me, for any goalie, if you can be up one or two goals and I felt great."

The Sabres came out smoking in the first period, outshooting the ‘Canes 11-3 and taking a 2-0 lead. Two players who normally don't make the score sheet came up big in the first period.

Rob Ray had his day in the sun Wednesday night as he scored the Sabres first goal of the game, and was involved in two fights with Darren Langdon. As Lindy Ruff said, Ray had a "Western League hat trick."

Ray got his first goal of the season after picking up a Dave Andreychuk rebound and slapping it past Tyler Moss from 15 feet out.

While sliding on the ice, Vaclav Varada tries to get the puck before the ‘Candes Martin Gerlina takes control. The Sabres went on to win 4-1.
[REUTERS/Joe Traver ]

Chris Gratton, who also has been having trouble lighting the red light since coming over to Buffalo in a trade last March, got his second of the season 89 seconds later when he got a perfect pass from Doug Gilmour in front of Moss. Gratton slid it under Moss to put the Sabres up by two.

Erik Rasmussen had a hand on Ray's goal, but was afraid that Ray's wicked slap shot was going to hit him in the head.

"When he came off the ice, he said ‘the first thing I was doing was trying not to hit you in front of the net' because I was standing right in front of the shot," said Rasmussen in describing Ray's shot. "I actually thought he was going to hit me, so I kind of fell back a little bit. That was a great goal for us at that time in the game."

In the second period, Rasmussen had a highlight goal when he broke in on the left side, breezed past Sandis Ozolinsh and got in alone on Moss and beat him on the far side with a backhander. "I just got it (the puck) and heard Andy (Dave Andreychuk) yell ‘Go, go, go' and the next thing you know there is only the one ‘D' and I don't think Ozolinsh was trying to play my body very much. I wanted to just make a move and I actually wanted to keep going and try to go high on the opposite side. It went in the net anyway."

Erik Rasmussen, who scored the third goal of the game in the second period, tries to get out of harms way as Rob Ray winds up on a 15-foot slap shot that got by Hurricanes' goalie Tyler Moss for the Sabres first goal. Rasmussen said that he was worried about being hit in the head by Ray's forceful blast.
[REUTERS/Joe Traver ]

Hasek, who has been criticized of impersonating Al Gore in the past five games by being stiff and immobile, came out like the Gumby of old. He was performing ice-angles and was much more mobile in stopping 14 shots. Hasek may now be ready to declare his early season slump as behind him.

"I felt comfortable," Hasek related. "Even when there were some deflections and I made the save on the deflections - it was a great feeling."

Almost 5 minutes into the final period, J.P. Dumont posted his 3rd goal of the season when he deflected James Patrick's shot from the point while the Sabres had a man advantage.

Hasek's shutout bid was foiled when Rod Brind'Amour took a shot on the Sabres goalie that O'Neill tipped in. Hasek was able to shut down the ‘Canes the rest of the way and skated off with his first victory of the 2000-2001 season.

"I thought we came out real hard, moved the puck extremely well and had everybody going," Ruff talked about the Sabres effort. "Everybody got involved in the game and with them playing (Tuesday) we wanted to get off to a quick start."

The Sabres play their first game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday night. It should be a raucous game with the Leafs fans occupying half of the HSBC Arena. The Leafs are two points ahead of the Sabres in the Northeast Division and the game should be a wild affair.

Sabres Talk

For Ray, goals have not come often in his career and he was going to cherish his 35th career goal.

"I'm saving that stick because it could be my last," said Ray. "No, I'm just fortunate things worked out the way they did and I got an opportunity to come back. I got to prove to them every opportunity I get that I can play, that I want to play and that I still can play. In a way I think it's good for me because it's going to push me all year to work and keep going."

The Sabres hadn't won a game since their second game of the year and were on a 4 game winless streak. They had focused on this home game with Carolina to get back on track.

"We talked about getting off to a good start," Ray pointed out. "We talked about it all week and it was something we haven't done in the last few games. We were able to get in there and get a good forecheck going early in the game. Erik and Dave did a lot of good work on the wall and I was the recipient of a lot of good work."

Ray wanted to get an assist to go along with his goal and two fights.

"After I scored the goal and got in the fight I said, "Andy, I need an assist now.' Ray described his conversation with Andreychuk. "I said (to Andreychuk) "Five hundred-fifty goals in this league, you got to be able to muster me up an assist for the Gordie Howe hat trick.' But tonight it wasn't meant to be."

"Razor, I think he was going for that Western League hat trick - two points and a fight," joked Ruff about Ray's big night.


Copyright © 2000 Sabres Central, all rights reserved