The Dominator is in one of those zones again.
The Buffalo Sabres' goalie posted his second straight shutout and extended his current streak of perfection to 128 minutes, 45 seconds with a superb performance in a 2-0 triumph over the New York Rangers Sunday in Madison Square Garden.
Hasek didn't face nearly as many shots as he did Friday (42) en route to a 1-0 victory over the Montreal, but he was every bit as good as he turned aside 33 New York offerings.
"I guess I'm playing very well right now," Hasek said of his first win ever in the Garden, where 18,200 watched. "I'm seeing the puck well and my teammates are making it easier for me for sure."
Miroslav Satan and Michael Peca scored the goals that lifted the Sabres to just their fifth road victory this season and their first in seven road starts (1-5-1). The last time the Sabres won away from home was Nov. 20, 5-0 at Boston. They recorded a 1-1 tie at Philadelphia on Dec. 1. It was the Sabres' first win at the Garden in six tries (1-3-2).
Hasek's best stop came on New York's sixth power play late in the third period. He flicked out his left pad to stop a shot off the stick of Pat LaFontaine that seemed destined to find the net. Earlier in the third, Hasek twice stopped Wayne Gretzky off a two-on-one break.
"The team played very well defensively," Hasek said. "I could see everything and if I can see (the puck) it is much easier for me. If the players help me, I can make plays and help them."
Hasek was particularly sharp after making stops as he moved the puck into the corners or onto the sticks of his defensemen who quickly turned it up ice.
The shutout was Hasek's fifth of the season, fourth in December, and marked the second time he's had back-to-back shutouts this month. He blanked Anaheim and Tampa Bay by identical 4-0 scores December 3 and 5 in Buffalo.
Hasek has a team-record 24 shutouts as a Sabre, and 25 for his career. He has four of the seven back-to-back regular-season shutouts in Sabres history.
As good as Hasek was, he wasn't alone in securing the win. Buffalo forwards moved the puck smartly through the neutral zone and were quick to jump behind the leg-weary Rangers, who played at Tampa Saturday afternoon and flew overnight to get back to New York, where the Sabres were rested and waiting.
Buffalo's defense quickly moved the puck out of its zone whenever New York opted to shoot it in, and when Hasek did make a save, he quickly moved the puck to them and they turned it out, seemingly in one effortless motion.
Buffalo's penalty killers stopped seven New York power plays.
"This was more of a team win than Friday," said Sabres coach Lindy Ruff. "All the points we've been trying to drive home were in evidence tonight. We played with grit and determination and I thought we played a great first period. That was probably our best period on the road this season."
The Sabres limited the Rangers to just six shots in the first period. They were aggressive on the puck and used their speed to push through the neutral zone and pepper New York goalie Mike Richter with shots from every angle.
The only goal the Sabres needed came when Satan finished off a nice two-on-one with Brian Holzinger by one-timing a pass past Richter from the right faceoff circle. The goal was Satan's 15th, sixth on the power play.
"I was open," Satan said. "It was a very quick play; the puck was right on my stick."
That stick may well have been illegal. Late in the second period the Rangers called for a measurement of Satan's stick. It was found to be too deep in the curve.
"It was very close," Satan said sheepishly. "Very close. First time for me."
Satan took a shot off the arch on his right foot in the first period and had problems with it once he removed his skate. He was limping noticeably after the game and is expected to be reexamined today in Buffalo. Defenseman Mike Wilson suffered a wrist injury in the second period and did not play in the third. Wilson will also be examined today.
The Rangers gave a better effort in the second period, but again the Sabres got the lone goal. This time Peca scored it, finishing off a nice play with Dixon Ward and Jason Dawe.
The play was helped along when Peca sealed off former teammate Pat LaFontaine behind the New York net. Peca then stepped out to Richter's right and finished off Ward's pass for his seventh of the season.
The Sabres will be home for the next few days, facing Detroit Tuesday night and the Rangers Friday night.