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Sabres Hold Off the Hurricanes, 3-2

May 21, 2006|From the Associated Press

RALEIGH, N.C. — Jay McKee was as surprised as anyone when his shot found the net, because he was blocked from seeing it and he just doesn't score often.

"When you don't score many goals during the season or through your career, it's certainly a little more exciting when you do it in the playoffs," Buffalo's veteran defenseman said.

Particularly when it wins the game.

McKee got only his third goal in 46 NHL playoff games seconds after leaving the penalty box, rookie Ryan Miller made 29 saves, and the Sabres held off the Carolina Hurricanes, 3-2, Saturday in the opener of the best-of-seven series.

Midway through the third period, McKee was sent off for holding, and after his teammates held strong during the ensuing power play, he got an opportunity. He patiently held the puck while traffic cleared, then skated deftly to his left before sending it past goalie Cam Ward.

He joked he learned the move from watching captain Daniel Briere in practice, and it was a bit out of character for a player who has scored 17 goals in 582 regular-season games. But he now has two this postseason -- he also scored in the first round against Philadelphia.

Briere and Henrik Tallinder also scored for Buffalo, which improved to 5-2 on the road in the postseason in front of a small but boisterous group of its own fans. Game 2 is Monday night at the RBC Center in Raleigh.

Mike Commodore scored a short-handed goal with about two minutes left to bring the Hurricanes to within 3-2, but Buffalo survived even after Carolina pulled Ward for the extra skater. Chris Drury blocked Justin Williams' wrist shot and calmly fed the puck down the ice as the waning seconds ticked off the clock.

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