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This Day in Buffalo Sports History; April 29, 1997 -- Plante pots big one

Derek Plante had just scored one of the most famous goals in Sabre history, an overtime tally to beat the Ottawa Senators, 3-2, in Game Seven of their first-round playoff series. Teammate Garry Galley watched some of the celebration of the first Game Seven victory in Buffalo's history, and then headed to the locker room.

"I watched everyone come in. I was one of the first guys in the room," he said. "I saw Teddy (Nolan, head coach), Paul (Theriault, assistant coach), Donny (Lever, assistant coach) and all of the players. I really got a jolt out of watching those guys come in with their smiles. I knew what they were feeling, because I had been there before. Every time you get to that point, it's such a great thrill. It's a real heart-jolt. To see these guys have that kind of smile on their faces after seeing so many long faces through this series over a lot of things, I think it was nice."

Almost all of the 18,595 in HSBC Arena felt the same way. They had watched a playoff classic, as Buffalo rallied from a 2-1 deficit in the third period. Then, about five minutes into overtime, Plante took off after a turnover.

"[Steve] Duchesne tried to dump it in and it basically hit me in the chest," the center said. "We had an odd-man rush. I looked to the middle and took a stride, and took a slapper [outside] Duchesne's heel and it kind of screened [Ron] Tugnutt -- I didn't know it was going in, but I saw Tugnutt dive back for it and the crowd erupted."

Tugnutt got a piece of the puck, but he couldn't stop the shot from dribbling over the goal line at 5:24 of overtime. The Sabres were on to the second round to face the Philadelphia Flyers.

-- Budd Bailey

Sports Ink blog at

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