for this game

Stafford scores twice as Sabres snap home losing streak

Mar 22, 2007 - 4:32 AM
BUFFALO, New York (Ticker) -- A meeting with the Washington Capitals was just what the Buffalo Sabres needed to end their home doldrums.

Rookie Drew Stafford scored two goals and Ryan Miller made 24 saves as the Sabres halted a three-game home slide with a 5-2 victory over the Capitals.

With the win, the Sabres (47-19-7) climbed seven points ahead of the second-place Ottawa Senators (43-23-8) in the Northeast Division and seven in front of the idle New Jersey Devils (43-22-8) for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.

Buffalo also jumped one point ahead of Nashville (47-21-6) in the race for the Presidents' Trophy. The Predators lost to the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday.

The Sabres, who lead the NHL with 276 goals, scored a total of five during their home skid. In this one, they netted two power-play tallies to snap an 0-for-25 drought with the extra skater.

"Special teams, obviously, are a big thing," said Buffalo right wing Dainius Zubrus, who was acquired from Washington at the February 27 trade deadline. "A lot of times, if you win special teams, you have a good chance of winning. I think that's what happened tonight."

"We don't spend a lot of time talking about the power play," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff added. "We talk about game to game what we want to do. We don't dwell on the fact we haven't got power-play goals lately. Our record is pretty good for the fact that you can go that long without one because it's a pretty important area. Killing penalties is a pretty important area, too."

Rookie Clarke MacArthur, Derek Roy and co-captain Daniel Briere also scored for the Sabres, while Thomas Vanek and Zubrus each had two assists.

Stafford gave Buffalo a 4-1 lead at 8:59 of the third period, when he banged in a rebound from the doorstep for his first goal of the game. He capped his second multi-goal effort of the campaign when he deked defenseman Steve Eminger before snapping the puck over goaltender Olaf Kolzig's glove just over three minutes later.

"I'm glad it went in," Stafford said. "I think if I would have messed that one up, I would've got in trouble. (The deke) was good, it's something you've got to try. I think the shot went off the post. It was good."

"He's playing very well for us," Ruff said. "He's playing with a lot of confidence. He's playing physical. He's got good habits. We just want to see him continue to play well."

Briere gave the Sabres their league-leading fourth 30-goal scorer this season when he picked up a loose puck behind the net, worked his way in front and jammed it between Kolzig's pads for a 3-1 advantage with 2:51 to go in the second period.

Vanek and Chris Drury lead Buffalo with 35 goals apiece, while Jason Pominville has 31.

"I think it's a tremendous accomplishment for the team and the individuals," Ruff said. "Our system is built around playing good offensive and upbeat hockey. Guys like playing, they're having fun playing. It's great to see that we end up with four guys with 30 goals or more."

Defenseman Brian Pothier and tough guy Donald Brashear tallied and Kolzig stopped 26 shots for the Capitals, who have lost 10 of their last 12 games.

"Any loss is not very enjoyable at this point in time," Washington coach Glen Hanlon said. "For us, here is a good model for us to learn from. (Buffalo) played well defensively. They had the puck a lot. It was a team that had gone 25 straight times without a power-play goal. You know going into these situations that they're due."








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    WASHINGTON 0 1 1 2
    BUFFALO 0 3 2 5 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    2ND PRD: BUF - (PP) DEREK ROY 16 (DMITRI KALININ, THOMAS VANEK) 0:40
    BUF - CLARKE MACARTHUR 3 (ADAM MAIR, DAINIUS ZUBRUS) 8:29
    WAS - BRIAN POTHIER 3 (CHRIS CLARK, BROOKS LAICH) 15:00
    BUF - (PP) DANIEL BRIERE 30 (

    Mar 21 9:40 PM


  • NHL
    WASHINGTON 2
    BUFFALO 5
    3RD PRD: WAS - DONALD BRASHEAR 4 (MIKE GREEN, BEN CLYMER) 18:25

    Capitals vs. SabresMar 21 9:39 PM


  • NHL
    WASHINGTON 1
    BUFFALO 5
    3RD PRD: BUF - DREW STAFFORD 11 (UNASSISTED) 13:10

    Capitals vs. SabresMar 21 9:30 PM


  • NHL
    WASHINGTON 1
    BUFFALO 4
    3RD PRD: BUF - DREW STAFFORD 10 (THOMAS VANEK, NATHAN PAETSCH) 8:59

    Capitals vs. SabresMar 21 9:22 PM


  • ------------------------------
    Washington
    0 1 --1
    Buffalo 0 3 --3
    ------------------------------

    FIRST PERIOD -- Scoring: None. Penalties: S Morrisonn, Was (double minor high
    sticking), 5:52; D Brashear, Was (major fighting), 15:05; A Peters,
    Buf (unsportsmanlike cond, fighting major), 15:05; B Gordon, Was
    (tripping), 19:17.

    SECOND PERIOD -- Scoring: 1, Buffalo, Derek Roy

    Mar 21 8:49 PM


  • NHL
    WASHINGTON 1
    BUFFALO 3
    2ND PRD: BUF - (PP) DANIEL BRIERE 30 (DAINIUS ZUBRUS, CHRIS DRURY)
    17:09

    Capitals vs. SabresMar 21 8:45 PM


  • NHL
    WASHINGTON 1
    BUFFALO 2
    2ND PRD: WAS - BRIAN POTHIER 3 (CHRIS CLARK, BROOKS LAICH) 15:00

    Capitals vs. SabresMar 21 8:42 PM


  • NHL
    WASHINGTON 0
    BUFFALO 2
    2ND PRD: BUF - CLARKE MACARTHUR 3 (ADAM MAIR, DAINIUS ZUBRUS) 8:29

    Capitals vs. SabresMar 21 8:27 PM


  • NHL
    WASHINGTON 0
    BUFFALO 1
    2ND PRD: BUF - (PP) DEREK ROY 16 (DMITRI KALININ, THOMAS VANEK) 0:40

    Capitals vs. SabresMar 21 8:07 PM


  • ------------------------
    Washington
    0 --0
    Buffalo 0 --0
    ------------------------

    FIRST PERIOD -- Scoring: None. Penalties: S Morrisonn, Was (double minor high
    sticking), 5:52; D Brashear, Was (major fighting), 15:05; A Peters,
    Buf (unsportsmanlike cond, fighting major), 15:05; B Gordon, Was
    (tripping), 19:17.

    Shots on goal:
    -----------------------------
    Washington 8 --8

    Mar 21 7:48 PM