for this game

Sabres clinch top seed in the Eastern Conference

Apr 4, 2007 - 4:10 AM
PITTSBURGH (Ticker) -- The Buffalo Sabres are in position to go deep into the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville scored 54 seconds apart in the third period to lift the Sabres past the Pittsburgh Penguins, 4-1. With the win, the Sabres clinched the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs and the Northeast Division title - their first since 1997.

Buffalo players said the accomplishment is only one of their goals this season.

"We don't want to stop at the regular season, we want to continue into the playoffs," said Buffalo goaltender Ryan Miller, who made 22 saves in the win. "We're not going to get crazy, we're not going to do anything weird like light candles. Come playoff time, we've got to play our game and we have to have faith in it."

Center Daniel Briere, who had two assists, echoed Miller's comments.

"(Earning the top seed is) not the ultimate goal. We feel there's a lot more to be done," he said. "We don't want to get too carried away with it. It's nice that we're going to have home-ice advantage to start the playoffs but that's where it stops."

The Sabres (51-21-7) broke a 1-1 tie at 2:10 of the second period on Derek Roy's 18th goal of the season.

The Sabres iced the game early in the third on Vanek's team-high 40th goal of the season at the 4:32 mark and Pominville's 33rd less then a minute later at 5:38.

Pittsburgh (45-24-11) struggled on the power play, finishing 0-for-8, and NHL scoring leader Sidney Crosby was held without a point.

"We had a lot of opportunities on the power play and we didn't take advantage of them and really let them hang around and they were able to get their chances and bury them," Crosby said. "I think if we put a couple in on those powers plays it's a whole different game."

Pittsburgh retained the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference but lost ground to the New Jersey Devils (48-24-8) in the race for the Atlantic Division title. New Jersey defeated the Ottawa Senators, 2-1, in a shootout to pull three points ahead of the Penguins.

"It was just a bad night for us. Those things happen through the course of a season, it doesn't happen to us often," Pittsburgh coach Michel Therrien said. "Usually this season we show that we care and we are always capable of bouncing back after a performance like this."

Mark Recchi netted the Penguins lone tally, ending a streak of 21 games without a goal. Dmitri Khalinin scored a goal for the Sabres and Drew Stafford contributed two assists.








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    BUFFALO 1 1 2 4
    PITTSBURGH 1 0 0 1 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: BUF - DMITRI KALININ 7 (TEPPO NUMMINEN, JOCHEN HECHT) 10:59
    PIT - MARK RECCHI 23 (JORDAN STAAL, EVGENI MALKIN) 12:01
    2ND PRD: BUF - DEREK ROY 18 (DREW STAFFORD, THOMAS VANEK) 2:10
    3RD PRD: BUF - THOMAS VANEK 40 (DREW

    Apr 3 9:36 PM


  • NHL
    BUFFALO 4
    PITTSBURGH 1
    3RD PRD: BUF - JASON POMINVILLE 33 (JOCHEN HECHT, DANIEL BRIERE) 5:38

    Sabres vs. PenguinsApr 3 9:10 PM


  • NHL
    BUFFALO 3
    PITTSBURGH 1
    3RD PRD: BUF - THOMAS VANEK 40 (DREW STAFFORD, DANIEL BRIERE) 4:32

    Sabres vs. PenguinsApr 3 9:09 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    BUFFALO 1 1 2
    PITTSBURGH 1 0 1 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: BUF - DMITRI KALININ 7 (TEPPO NUMMINEN, JOCHEN HECHT) 10:59
    PIT - MARK RECCHI 23 (JORDAN STAAL, EVGENI MALKIN) 12:01
    2ND PRD: BUF - DEREK ROY 18 (DREW STAFFORD, THOMAS VANEK) 2:10
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1S

    Apr 3 8:44 PM


  • NHL
    BUFFALO 2
    PITTSBURGH 1
    2ND PRD: BUF - DEREK ROY 18 (DREW STAFFORD, THOMAS VANEK) 2:10

    Sabres vs. PenguinsApr 3 8:11 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    BUFFALO 1 1
    PITTSBURGH 1 1 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: BUF - DMITRI KALININ 7 (TEPPO NUMMINEN, JOCHEN HECHT) 10:59
    PIT - MARK RECCHI 23 (JORDAN STAAL, EVGENI MALKIN) 12:01
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    BUF 10

    Apr 3 7:49 PM


  • NHL
    BUFFALO 1
    PITTSBURGH 1
    1ST PRD: PIT - MARK RECCHI 23 (JORDAN STAAL, EVGENI MALKIN) 12:01

    Sabres vs. PenguinsApr 3 7:35 PM


  • NHL
    BUFFALO 1
    PITTSBURGH 0
    1ST PRD: BUF - DMITRI KALININ 7 (TEPPO NUMMINEN) 10:59

    Sabres vs. PenguinsApr 3 7:29 PM