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Vrbata leads Coyotes past Sabres

Nov 20, 2011 - 4:32 AM
Buffalo, NY (Sports Network) - Radim Vrbata netted a pair of goals, helping the Phoenix Coyotes top the Buffalo Sabres, 4-2, on Saturday night.

Shane Doan and Paul Bissonnette scored the other goals and Mike Smith made 43 saves for the Coyotes, who bounced back after dropping a 2-1 decision in Philadelphia on Thursday.

Luke Adam and Patrick Kaleta scored, while Jordan Leopold added two assists and Jhonas Enroth made 25 saves in defeat for the Sabres.

Phoenix opened the scoring at 7:09 of the first period when Doan took a pass from Keith Yandle just inside the blue line on the right wing, moved to the top of the right circle and slapped one through the legs of Enroth.

"We didn't play exactly the way we wanted, but we found a way to win and found ways to score goals," Doan said. "We got to the net on a couple of rebounds and that really was the difference."

But Buffalo knotted it at 1-1 at 11:57 when Leopold fired one from the left point that was tipped past Smith by Adam on a screen.

The Sabres took the lead just 51 seconds into the second period when Leopold fired a shot from the point that was stopped by Smith, but Kaleta was there to pounce on a loose rebound to give his team a 2-1 edge.

Phoenix responded with two quick goals, just 66 seconds apart, to take a 3-2 lead.

The tying goal came when Vrbata picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone and raced into the Buffalo zone on the left wing. He drifted in slowly and snapped one past Enroth at 8:35.

Kyle Chipchura fired a shot from the right circle that was blocked, but the puck trickled to Bissonnette at the side of the net and he snuck it past Enroth for a 3-2 lead.

Vrbata added an empty-netter with 71 seconds remaining of the third period to seal the win for the Coyotes.

"We missed too many opportunities," Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff said.

Game Notes

The Sabres had their five-game winning streak against the Coyotes snapped...Buffalo leads the all-time series, 39-21-8...The Sabres were 0-for-1 with the man advantage, while Phoenix failed to convert on two power play opportunities...The Sabres will host the defending champion Bruins on Wednesday, while Phoenix will play at the Washington Capitals on Monday.