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12-27-2003, 11:51 AM
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Ruckus007
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Gameday: Sabres at Capitals, 12-27-2003

http://sports.yahoo.com/nhl/preview?gid=2003122723

The Buffalo Sabres look to extend their unbeaten streak to three games since a seven-game losing skid as they visit the Washington Capitals.
Mika Noronen made 30 saves and the Sabres scored three times in the third period for a 3-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday night.

Ales Kotalik scored on the power play at 3:09 of the third period, breaking an 0-for-17 drought for the Sabres with the man advantage. Taylor Pyatt scored a little over nine minutes later, and Chris Taylor sealed the win with an empty-netter with 33.2 seconds remaining.

The win was just Buffalo's second in 11 games (2-8-1), and its first since Dec. 3 against Chicago. The Sabres tied Ottawa 2-2 on Tuesday to end their season-high losing streak.

``It's a big relief,'' said Noronen, who improved to 4-1 lifetime against Carolina. ``Hopefully, we can keep it going. We had a couple days off to forget about hockey and get a fresh start.''

J.P. Dumont, the Sabres' leading scorer with 11 goals and 25 points, injured his right hip with 12:15 left in the first period Friday and is expected to miss at least a week.

``I'm going to take the next few days and ice it down,'' Dumont said. ``There's too much swelling to see if the muscle's going to be all right.''

Buffalo will also be without center Chris Drury, who has missed three straight games due to a separated shoulder. Coach Lindy Ruff said Drury won't be available until Monday, at the earliest, when the Sabres face the Hurricanes again.

The Capitals are coming off a 3-2 win over Montreal on Tuesday as Peter Bondra knocked in a loose puck with 53.8 seconds remaining. Olaf Kolzig stopped 38 shots as Washington won for just the third time in 10 games (3-5-2).

Despite giving up 1-0 and 2-1 leads in the third period, the Capitals improved to 10-0 when leading after two periods.

``I think the key to it is the resiliency of the hockey club, which at times earlier on -- for whatever reason -- we didn't seem to have,'' Washington coach Glen Hanlon said.

``You can sense and feel it on the bench. When a goal goes in, it seems like the right people are saying the right things.''

The Capitals are 3-2-2 since Hanlon replaced Bruce Cassidy on Dec. 10, and have not lost consecutive games during that stretch. Washington allowed 10 goals in Hanlon's first two games, but only 11 in the last five.

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