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This Day in Buffalo Sports History: Shields comes through

   April 27, 1997 -- The Buffalo Sabres were in a tough spot on this date. They were trailing the Ottawa Senators, three games to two, in a first-round series. Buffalo had to face elimination in Game Six with a game in Ottawa. And the league's most valuable player, Dominik Hasek, was out with an injury.

   When the game was played, it was a case of Steve Shields coming to the rescue.

   Shields came up with the game of his life, a 3-0 shutout of Ottawa that sent the series to a deciding Game Seven. That was in spite of the fact that coach Ted Nolan was urged to use goalie Andrei Trefilov instead of Shields.

   "It was a big game, but we haven't done anything yet," Shields said.

   "We have a ton of confidence in Steve," teammate Brian Holzinger said. "We knew he could do the job for us. He's proven that all year long since he's been called up. Unfortunately we have not been able to put the offense in front of him to help him out. It's not only a big confidence booster for Steve Shields to shut out the Ottawa Senators, but for the rest of the team to score three goals and help him out."

   The game set up a memorable Game Seven back in Buffalo. Shields had a supporting role in that game too.

--- Budd Bailey

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