Rick looks like the real thing, but…

'Before a much-anticipating crowd of 14,248, DiPietro provided them hope for the future by making 29 saves, and adding an assist, to boot. But by providing little offensive support, the Islanders failed to get him a win, dropping a tight 2-1 decision to Buffalo.'

Rookie Goalie DiPietro Saves 29 in Baptism

'The Islanders lost, 2-1, in front of a crowd of 14,248. But DiPietro, the first overall selection in last June's draft, played well. Well enough to calm the nerves of general manager Mike Milbury, who took the risk of selecting the then-Boston University freshman and trading heralded prospect Roberto Luongo the same day.'

Sabres 2, Islanders 1

'"We answered the bell right away after they scored that goal," Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff said. "We found a way to win."'

Buffalo 2, NY Islanders 1

'Highly touted rookie Rick DiPietro squeezed as much as possible into his NHL debut — except a win.'

Hasek belongs among Stars

'Sure, backups Roman Cechmanek and Evgeni Nabokov have better numbers in most categories and their time will come. But if this is indeed Hasek's last season (a subject he's not touching right now), then Hasek should be there. It's the fourth consecutive year he's been voted in and, while the public doesn't always get it right, they did this time.'

Eternal growing pains get Isles nowhere

The year has been another to forget on Long Island for the fans and their sluggish hockey team. As one of the youngest teams, New York is enduring through some growing pains.

Sabres smell like champsOe or chimps

You know that smell that's either the incredible beef stew your grandmother makes or the steaming pile of crap your new puppy leaves on the kitchen floor?

Bruins keep punchless Sabres on skid row

'The Sabres' power play drought is over, but their losing streak goes on.'

No rave reviews forthcoming for frustrated, goal-starved Sabres

'"The puck just doesn't want to go in. Either I don't make the decision to shoot or he makes a great save or I get a bad bounce. It's something I have to deal with. I don't know."'

Woolley maintains focus

'"Of course I'm frustrated," said Woolley, who was a healthy scratch for the 10th time this season in Tuesday's loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets. "I'm not letting it get me down either. Things change real fast in this game. As fast as you can go to being the guy that's being sat out you can be the one who makes a difference."'

Bruins rattle Sabres

'Eloranta scored the go-ahead goal in the first period, following up a Bill Guerin rebound, and then banged home the tiebreaker with 6:35 gone in the third, connecting with a sweep of a dead puck after a faceoff to Dominik Hasek's right.'

Fight to the Finnish

'Not that they get to enjoy it for long, but the Bruins finally seized sole possession of eighth place in the Eastern Conference with a gritty 2-1 victory last night over the struggling Buffalo Sabres in a mean-spirited affair at HSBC Arena.'

Keenan relies on red-hot Dafoe

'Dafoe made his 19th consecutive start last night – matching his longest games-played streak, from Jan. 1-March 3, 1998 – and was never better than he was in making 29 saves in a 2-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres.'

Bruins win thanks to Eloranta and Dafoe

'"The Sabres are notorious for coming hard at you and crashing the net," Dafoe said.'

Henderson has things under control

'Since looking very mortal in a 4-3 loss to the Bruins on New Year's Day, Buffalo netminder Dominik Hasek has regained his All-Star form.'