If anyone needed a reminder why goaltender Dominik Hasek has been the NHL's most valuable player the past two years, they got it last night.
The acrobatic Hasek made 40 saves and Curtis Brown scored the game-winner on a second-period power play to lift the Buffalo Sabres to a series-opening, 2-1 playoff victory over the Ottawa Senators.
"They had a lot of good chances," Hasek said. "A couple of times, I was lucky. I was on top tonight, but you don't know what will happen tomorrow. That's why you don't want to get too high when you win."
Game 2 in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarterfinal series will be tomorrow night in Ottawa.
Michael Peca scored in the first period for the Sabres, who were outshot 41-15, but made the most of their rare chances against Ottawa goaltender Ron Tugnutt.
Wade Redden was the only Senator to beat Hasek. His score came on a power-play blast from the high slot in the first period.
"I should have made that save," Hasek said. "I could see the puck. He was out by the blue line. My job is to make that save."
Hasek did more than his job with a flurry of spectacular saves in the third period, when the Sabres were outshot 17-6, including a behind-the-back stick save on Alexei Yashin's shot at the side of the crease.
Stars 2, Oilers 1: Guy Carbonneau scored with 6: 53 left as favored Dallas rallied over Edmonton.
Carbonneau's 35th career playoff goal came on a pass from Dave Reid after Blake Sloan had shot and missed. The 39-year-old Carbonneau is in his 16th playoffs.
Losing 1-0, it took only 13 seconds into the third period for Dallas to tie the game. Jere Lehtinen chased the puck down behind the Oilers' goal and spun around the net to beat Salo on his glove side.
Red Wings 5, Mighty Ducks 3: Host Detroit checked, whacked and mauled its way past Anaheim, with Steve Yzerman getting a hat trick. But the hardest hit for the Mighty Ducks was self-inflicted.
Goaltender Guy Hebert was injured midway through the game when Brendan Shanahan, driving hard to the net, was hit hard by Ducks defenseman Ruslan Salei and sent flying. His skate clipped Hebert on the top left of his mask and he was forced to leave at 9: 33 with the Red Wings leading 3-2.
Hebert's status for the next game was not immediately known.
Off the ice
Bruins: Second-line center Joe Thornton will miss the playoff opener against the Hurricanes tonight with a bruised sternum suffered Saturday. Thornton, 19, the first overall pick in the 1997 draft, had 16 goals this season.
Obituary: William "Flash" Hollett, the first NHL defenseman to score 20 goals, died Tuesday in Toronto. He was 88.
He set the 20-goal mark in 1944-45 in Detroit and it stood until Bobby Orr broke it by just one goal 24 years later.
Pub Date: 4/22/99