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Sabres slug way to victory

Buffalo defeats Ottawa, 6-5, in a shootout after the game is delayed 20 minutes because of a major fight.

February 23, 2007|From the Associated Press

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Goaltender Martin Biron couldn't be more proud with how his Buffalo Sabres responded after co-captain Chris Drury was blindsided and knocked woozy by Ottawa's Chris Neil.

First, the Sabres got back at the Senators during a wild second-period melee -- a brawl that involved all 12 skaters on the ice, including Biron taking on Ottawa goalie Ray Emery.

Then, despite a depleted bench, the Sabres won, 6-5, when Drew Stafford scored the lone shootout goal Thursday night.

"Emotions were running high.... It didn't matter who was on the ice, anybody would've responded," said Biron, who was ejected along with Emery and Buffalo's Andrew Peters. "That was really satisfying. And it's satisfying to see the way we played after that."

What incensed the Sabres was seeing Drury, with a deep cut across his forehead, needing help to get up after being bowled over by Neil. It happened five minutes into the second period after Drury had snapped a shot on net from the right circle. That's when Neil, without slowing, hit him from behind.

Neil's shoulder caught Drury across the side of the head, sending Drury flying and knocking his helmet off.

Neil was not penalized for the hit, but Sabres Coach Lindy Ruff called it dirty. The Senators saw things very differently.

Neil described his hit as clean, adding that Drury shouldn't have had his head down.

And Senators Coach Bryan Murray was unhappy with how the brawl began, angry how Buffalo's fourth-liner Adam Mair punched Senators star Jason Spezza in the head on the faceoff after Drury was hurt.

"I put out skill players and he sends out the five guys on his team that are going to start a fight," Murray said, referring to Ruff. He then accused the Sabres' coach of ordering his players to start the fight.

Ruff's answer to that was: "I'm not going to comment what I had on my mind."

After pausing, Ruff added: "Go out and run 'em."

The game was delayed by about 20 minutes as officials issued 100 penalty minutes, 63 against Buffalo.

As inspiring as the Sabres' victory was, the bad news is that Drury, who scored his team-leading 33rd goal in the first period, might miss a few games because of what was described as a head injury.

That means the Sabres could be down eight regulars when they play Saturday at Ottawa to complete the eight-game season series between the Northeast Division rivals.

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