for this game

Vanek nets game-winner as Sabres finally win at home

Nov 14, 2010 - 5:11 AM
Buffalo, NY (Sports Network) - Thomas Vanek scored with a minute left in overtime, lifting the Buffalo Sabres to their first home win of the season, a 3-2 decision over the Washington Capitals.

Vanek also netted a power-play goal in regulation for the Sabres, who had started the season 0-6-1 at HSBC Arena, their worst home start since 1993-94.

"Tonight was a good win against the best team in the East," Vanek said. "It's a good win for us and we've just got to keep building."

Steve Montador had the other Sabres tally, while Ryan Miller made 23 saves in his return to the net. Miller had missed the last six games with a knee injury.

Nicklas Backstrom and Karl Alzner had the goals for the Capitals, who had won their last six. Braden Holtby turned aside 24 shots in the setback.

The Sabres started the overtime period with an extra skater, as Backstrom earned a double-minor for high-sticking with 2:54 left in regulation.

Jason Pominville had a chance to end the game shortly into overtime, but the rookie Holtby, in his second career start, made a glove save on the wrister. A little later a Sabres shot bounced off the right post, but Vanek finally cashed in.

He used a backhand-to-forehand move to get around defenseman John Carlson while skating down the slot, then made the same maneuver again before putting a backhander into the net.

"Ninety-nine out of 100 times I'm going to poke-check that by lunging," Holtby said. "For some reason I hesitated. I don't know if I was a little bit scared or not. I don't know what it was. It's something that's easy to learn from and make sure I don't hesitate next time."

Alzner gave the Caps the lead 8:03 into the game, after a Sabres turnover. Defenseman Tyler Myers lost his edge behind the net and subsequently lost the puck. After a failed clearing attempt by Buffalo, Alexander Semin slid a pass from the top of the right circle to the left point, where Alzner unleashed a shot that beat Miller to the stick side.

Montador evened the contest at the 10:10 mark of the middle period, and Vanek had the Sabres ahead a little more than six minutes later. Holtby made the save on a point blast by Jordan Leopold, but couldn't control the rebound, which Vanek swiped in from the right side of the crease.

Backstrom knotted the game again at 7:09 of the third.

Game Notes

Semin extended his points streak to seven games. He has seven goals and seven assists over that span...Leopold assisted on every Sabres goal...Buffalo, which has won three of four overall, faces Vancouver on Monday...Washington hosts Atlanta on Sunday.