for this game

Vanek scores twice as Sabres end slide vs. Senators

Feb 8, 2007 - 4:24 AM
BUFFALO, New York (Ticker) -- Recent heavy snowfall did not prevent the Ottawa Senators from making it to HSBC Arena. They likely are wishing it had.

Thomas Vanek snapped a tie with four minutes to go in the third period, lifting the Buffalo Sabres to a 3-2 victory over the Senators.

With more than five feet of snow dumped on upstate New York over the past few days, the Senators were able to get to Buffalo with little problem. However, extending their four-game winning streak against the Sabres proved too tall a task.

"Anytime you lose to a team four straight, especially a division rival like Ottawa is, we're pumped up," Vanek said. "We really wanted to win this one. It feels nice, real nice."

Buffalo carried a 2-1 lead into the third period, but Peter Schaefer drew Ottawa even with a power-play goal 3 1/2 minutes into the session. But with time winding down, the Sabres were rewarded for their persistence.

After a pair of shots during a man advantage were blocked by defenders, the puck came to Ales Kotalik, who unleashed a slapper from the top of the left faceoff circle. That shot also was kept from arriving on net, but Vanek was in the right place at the right time, tapping in the loose puck from the right side of the crease for his 28th goal of the season and a 3-2 edge.

"Al shot it or passed it, I'm not sure what he was trying to do," Vanek said. "But it went off of (Ottawa defenseman Anton) Volchenkov's stick, right to the back door."

"It was just kind of a scramble around on the power play," Senators goaltender Ray Emery said. "(Kotalik) just tried to shoot it at the net, it hit a stick and went to (Vanek) back door."

The tally also completed Vanek's fifth two-goal performance of the campaign and ninth career.

"The power play at the end of the game decided the game," Ottawa coach Bryan Murray said. "We had the puck and we couldn't get it out."

Buffalo held Ottawa to three shots the rest of the way and only one in the final three minutes, holding on to emerge victorious in the opener of a season-high six-game homestand.

"I was seeing (the puck) pretty good, but there were a lot of sneaky deflections that went off skates and sticks," said Sabres netminder Martin Biron, who made 28 saves. "It would hit somebody, which made for a (tough) play right in front of the net."

Maxim Afinogenov also scored for the Sabres, who have won four of their last five games.

"I think we're regaining a little bit, a little attitude, a little bit of physical play that I thought was missing," Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff said. "It started last night (at Atlanta), we built on it tonight. ... The last two games, I saw a little bit of that bite."

"We're playing better, back to where we need to be going," Biron added. "The guys that need to step it up are doing the job, and that's really what we need."

Dean McAmmond tallied and Emery stopped 34 shots for Ottawa, which has lost three of four and been limited to three goals or fewer in each of its last seven contests.

"It was a weird game out there," Schaefer said. "They played a great game. I just think we couldn't get it going tonight."

After a scoreless first period, Buffalo grabbed a 1-0 lead on Vanek's third goal in five games. The 23-year-old Austrian intercepted a cross-ice pass in the slot and skated toward Emery, drawing the goaltender out of the crease before firing the puck into a vacant net from the right side at 11:21.

"I picked it off. I knew Emery was challenging me right away," Vanek said. "I knew I had enough speed to get around him, at least I was hoping. It worked out well."

The Senators drew even just 41 seconds later as McAmmond buried the rebound of defenseman Joe Corvo's wrist shot from the right circle to end a 14-game drought. The assist was Corvo's 100th career point.

Afinogenov restored the lead for the Sabres with 2:23 left in the opening session. Derek Roy carried down the left wing from his own zone and dished to the top of the right circle for the Russian, whose one-timer got past Emery for his first goal in nine games.

The tally was Buffalo's league-leading 83rd in second periods this campaign.

Schaefer forged a 2-2 tie at 3:35 of the third, knocking in a loose puck from the doorstep for his ninth of the season.

"We've been playing good in the third period," Schaefer said. "We came out, got a 2-2 tie. (Then) we had a turnover and a penalty. They capitalized."

Emery fell to 8-2-1 lifetime against the Sabres, who inducted former defenseman Phil Housley into their Hall of Fame prior to the contest.








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    OTTAWA 0 1 1 2
    BUFFALO 0 2 1 3 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    2ND PRD: BUF - THOMAS VANEK 27 (UNASSISTED) 11:21
    OTT - DEAN MCAMMOND 6 (JOE CORVO, PATRICK EAVES) 12:02
    BUF - MAXIM AFINOGENOV 22 (DEREK ROY, NATHAN PAETSCH) 17:37
    3RD PRD: OTT - (PP) PETER SCHAEFER 9 (MIKE FISH

    Feb 7 9:40 PM


  • NHL
    OTTAWA 2
    BUFFALO 3
    3RD PRD: BUF - (PP) THOMAS VANEK 28 (ALES KOTALIK, TEPPO NUMMINEN)
    16:00

    Senators vs. SabresFeb 7 9:35 PM
  • 16
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    RUWTbot Took away 21 roots

    Senators vs. SabresFeb 7 9:35 PM
  • 37
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    RUWTbot Added 17 roots

    Senators vs. SabresFeb 7 9:28 PM
  • 20
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    RUWTbot Added 15 roots

    Senators vs. SabresFeb 7 9:24 PM


  • NHL
    OTTAWA 2
    BUFFALO 2
    3RD PRD: OTT - (PP) PETER SCHAEFER 9 (MIKE FISHER, ANDREJ MESZAROS)
    3:35

    Senators vs. SabresFeb 7 9:10 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    OTTAWA 0 1 1
    BUFFALO 0 2 2 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    2ND PRD: BUF - THOMAS VANEK 27 (UNASSISTED) 11:21
    OTT - DEAN MCAMMOND 6 (JOE CORVO, PATRICK EAVES) 12:02
    BUF - MAXIM AFINOGENOV 22 (DEREK ROY, NATHAN PAETSCH) 17:37
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3R

    Feb 7 8:43 PM


  • NHL
    OTTAWA 1
    BUFFALO 2
    2ND PRD: BUF - MAXIM AFINOGENOV 22 (DEREK ROY) 17:37

    Senators vs. SabresFeb 7 8:40 PM


  • NHL
    OTTAWA 1
    BUFFALO 1
    2ND PRD: OTT - DEAN MCAMMOND 6 (JOE CORVO, PATRICK EAVES) 12:02

    Senators vs. SabresFeb 7 8:29 PM


  • NHL
    OTTAWA 0
    BUFFALO 1
    2ND PRD: BUF - THOMAS VANEK 27 (UNASSISTED) 11:21

    Senators vs. SabresFeb 7 8:25 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    OTTAWA 0 0
    BUFFALO 0 0 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    OTT 8 8
    BUF 15 15
    GOALIES: OTT - RAY EMERY
    BUF - MARTIN BIRON

    Feb 7 7:50 PM
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    Senators vs. SabresFeb 7 2:23 PM