Kotalik, Stafford help Sabres stave off Islanders

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BUFFALO, New York (Ticker) -- The New York Islanders rallied

late to salvage a point, but it was the Buffalo Sabres who ended

a losing skid.

Ales Kotalik and Drew Stafford each scored in the shootout and

Ryan Miller stopped both attempts in the bonus format, helping

Buffalo earn a 4-3 win over New York on Saturday.

Jochen Hecht and Jason Pominville each had power-play goals and

Clarke MacArthur also scored his career-high 10th goal for

Buffalo, which snapped a three-game losing streak.

It appeared the Sabres would cruise to their first win since a

5-0 triumph over the Kings on December 19, but the Islanders -

who held a 12-5 advantage in shots in the final period rallied

with a pair of goals in the final 94 seconds of regulation.

"A couple times one of the defense fell, the puck got by

(Pominville) to a guy in the slot, he had no one in front of

him, just Miller, he just buried it," Hecht said. "You can

battle, shoot the puck out, just have to be more desperate."

After Mike Comrie scored on the power play to halve the deficit,

Chris Campoli's goal with just two seconds remaining in the

third period tied the game. Rookie Kyle Okposo picked up a

loose puck and fed a pass to Campoli, who ripped a shot to the

glove side of Miller to knot the score, 3-3.

"I was happy with everything except for about the last couple

minutes of the game," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said.

Miller, who finished with 32 saves, made pad saves on the

shootout attempts of Richard Park and Okposo to preserve the

win.

"Everybody wants to win, but it's a step in the right

direction," Comrie said. "We had a pretty rough December, went

through some injuries but tonight was an effort. The last

couple games we've showed if we played the right way, we can be

successful."

Hecht scored the lone goal of the opening period 13:01 into the

session.

Jeff Tambellini tied the score midway through the second, but

Pominville tallied 3:31 later to put the Sabres back in front.

"I think our penalty kill has been good throughout the year,

unfortunately we gave up one late," Pominville said. "We'll

take the positives out of this one. We need the two points, we

got it so we'll move on."

Joey MacDonald, who got the start in place of Rick DiPietro,

made 34 saves. DiPietro returned to action Friday after missing

two months but suffered a strained groin in the contest.

"We were down a couple goals in the third and we battled to the

bitter end," MacDonald said. "It took us 60 minutes to get that

one point. We never give up, down 3-1 we could of packed our

bags and we didn't, maybe a couple weeks ago we might of. It's

a huge step for us, huge win last night and big point tonight."

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