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NHL Game Summary - NY Islanders at Buffalo



(Friday, April 20th)

Final Score: Buffalo 4, NY Islanders 3

Buffalo, NY (Sports Network) - Maxim Afinogenov scored what proved to be a much needed insurance goal in the third period and Ryan Miller made 30 saves and came up with a huge stop on Alexei Yashin with time running out as the Buffalo Sabres held off the New York Islanders, 4-3, to advance to the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Afinogenov added an assist while Drew Stafford, Jason Pominville and Derek Roy also scored for the Sabres, who eliminated the Islanders in five games.

Miroslav Satan, Trent Hunter and Chris Campoli each scored and Rick DiPietro finished with 23 saves for New York, which outshot Buffalo 18-5 in the third period and almost sent the game into overtime.

Down by three goals midway through the third period, Bruno Gervais fired a one-timer from the high slot and Hunter was there to stuff home the rebound and bring New York within 4-2.

A mad scramble ensued in front of the Sabres net with less than seven minutes to go and the puck squirted into the slot for Campoli, who beat Miller top- shelf to make it a one-goal game.

The Islanders pulled DiPietro with just over a minute to play and almost netted the equalizer. With 12 seconds left on the clock, Satan charged the net and Miller came up with an impressive save on his shot before stuffing Yashin's rebound attempt from the right post to preserve the win.

"I figured I better make up for the one (Satan) scored earlier," said Miller. "We got to that point where we were holding on and I didn't want this to be a turning point in the series. I wanted to hold strong."

The Sabres struck first with 4:56 left in the first period on Stafford's first career playoff tally. Stafford collected the puck behind the Islanders' net and, with New York's Randy Robitaille draped over his back, skated into the slot and backhanded a shot past DiPetro to give Buffalo the lead.

Buffalo then took a 2-0 lead just 39 seconds into the second period. Daniel Briere won a battle for the puck in the left corner before sending a pass into the slot for Pominville, who beat DiPietro top-shelf for the two-goal lead.

Then, with 8:31 left before the second intermission, Roy stuffed home a rebound to hand the Sabres a three-goal cushion.

The Islanders got on the board 4:22 into the third period as Satan's spinning, no-look shot from the left circle caught Miller off guard.

Just over two minutes later, Afinogenov scored over off a pretty feed from Thomas Vanek to make it 4-1 Buffalo before New York rallied to make it close.

"We separated a couple times but they came right back," said Buffalo head coach Lindy Ruff. "Tonight was a great example if you make a few mistakes, any team can take it to you. We knew it was going to be hard. I think we felt a little bit of the pressure of being the favorite."

"We gave us ourselves a chance," said Islanders forward Ryan Smyth. "It?s frustrating, it?s disappointing. It?s tough to swallow right now."

Game Notes

The Islanders have not come back to win a playoff series when down three games to one since the 1987 Patrick Division semifinals against Washington. ..Both teams went 0-for-4 on the power play.

04/21 00:15:26 ET

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