for this game

Connolly, power play help Sabres cruise past Thrashers

Oct 12, 2007 - 3:49 AM
BUFFALO, New York (Ticker) -- Tim Connolly and his Buffalo Sabres teammates made sure they would not set a dubious club record.

Connolly scored a power-play goal and set up two others as the Sabres cruised to a 6-0 victory over the struggling Atlanta Thrashers on Thursday.

Defenseman Brian Campbell also had a tally and two assists while Ales Kotalik and Derek Roy each scored a goal and set up another for Buffalo, which won its first game after beginning the season with two losses.

"We made the right plays," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. "We were better with our positioning and our intention to play away from the puck."

Ryan Miller posted his fifth career shutout by stopping 20 shots for the Sabres, whose victory helped them avoid their first 0-3 start in the 37-season history of the club.

"I don't pay too much attention to those kind of statistics," Connolly said. "We wanted to go out and put on a good performance and improve on our previous two games. We got it going in the right direction, but there's still room for us to get better."

Buffalo began a campaign 0-2 on five other occasions before dodging a third loss.

"It's one game," Campbell said. "Our goal isn't just tonight. We want to get on a run. We have a lot of areas that need to get better. We have a ways to go to be the team we want to be."

The reigning Southeast Division champion, Atlanta dropped its fourth straight for its worst opening since suffering a franchise-worst nine straight losses to open the 2002-03 season.

"We were hoping to put the first three games behind us," Thrashers coach Bob Hartley said. "The Sabres took control of the game."

Buffalo used its power play to put away the game early.

Three minutes into the contest, Kotalik received a pass from Connolly near the left side of the net before wristing a shot past goaltender Kari Lehtonen to give the Sabres a quick lead.

"It's nice to score on any shift during the season," Kotalik said. "It was a good setup by Connolly and it was an easy shot for me."

It was Kotalik's first game after missing the two losses to the New York Islanders due to a knee injury.

Buffalo, which entered this contest 1-for-11 on the power play, added two more man-advantage tallies within nearly a minute of each other midway through the session.

At 11:01, Connolly blasted a shot from just inside the blue line past the glove of Lehtonen, who was partially screened by Paul Gaustad.

"All of our guys worked well as a unit and moved the puck around," Connolly said. "We got shots from the point with traffic, and that's the way you're going to score goals."

Just 66 seconds later, Campbell rifled the puck by Lehtonen to create a 3-0 bulge.

"Anytime you can get out to an early start like that, it takes the load off," said Campbell, who equaled a career high with his three points.

The Sabres ended the competitive nature of this game in the second period. With 7 1/2 minutes left and a man down, Jason Pominville gathered the puck along the boards and received a return pass from Roy on a 2-on-1 rush before roofing a shot over the left shoulder of Lehtonen to increase the lead to four.

Roy made it 5-0 just before the session ended, batting in a rebound with three seconds remaining.

Daniel Paille tacked on a goal with 27 seconds left in the contest for the Sabres, whose three power-play tallies matched last season's high.

It was more than enough support for Miller, who turned aside three shots in the first, five in the second and 12 in the final period en route to the shutout.

"I need to be there for the guys when they need me," Miller said. "That's the kind of attitude we need to have."

Lehtonen, who was pulled after two periods, made 15 saves. Johan Hedberg played the final session, stopping seven shots.

"Right now, we're not playing good hockey," Hartley said. "We need to build some leadership, someone will have to take charge. We're so tight and so anxious to get that first win that we forget to do the right things."

The Thrashers, who played their second straight game without last season's leading scorer, Marian Hossa, were 0-for-8 on the power play after also entering this contest 1-for-11 with the man advantage.

"We need to perform better than we have," Thrashers captain Bobby Holik said. "Frustration comes when you do everything you can and things don't go your way. We're nowhere near our best. There's no time for frustration, we just have to get better."






  • 45
    roots
    bore Added 5 roots

    Thrashers vs. SabresOct 12 8:21 PM


  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    ATLANTA 0 0 0 0
    BUFFALO 3 2 1 6 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: BUF - (PP) ALES KOTALIK 1 (TIM CONNOLLY, BRIAN CAMPBELL)
    3:00
    BUF - (PP) TIM CONNOLLY 1 (BRIAN CAMPBELL, ALES KOTALIK)
    11:01
    BUF - (PP) BRIAN CAMPBELL 1 (TIM CONNOLLY, JAROSLAV SPACEK)
    12:07
    2ND PRD: BUF - (SH) JAS

    Oct 11 9:43 PM


  • NHL
    ATLANTA 0
    BUFFALO 6
    3RD PRD: BUF - DANIEL PAILLE 1 (ADAM MAIR, MICHAEL RYAN) 19:33

    Thrashers vs. SabresOct 11 9:42 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    ATLANTA 0 0 0
    BUFFALO 3 2 5 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: BUF - (PP) ALES KOTALIK 1 (TIM CONNOLLY, BRIAN CAMPBELL)
    3:00
    BUF - (PP) TIM CONNOLLY 1 (BRIAN CAMPBELL, ALES KOTALIK)
    11:01
    BUF - (PP) BRIAN CAMPBELL 1 (TIM CONNOLLY, JAROSLAV SPACEK)
    12:07
    2ND PRD: B

    Oct 11 8:52 PM


  • NHL
    ATLANTA 0
    BUFFALO 5
    2ND PRD: BUF - DEREK ROY 2 (MICHAEL RYAN, DANIEL PAILLE) 19:57

    Thrashers vs. SabresOct 11 8:52 PM


  • NHL
    ATLANTA 0
    BUFFALO 4
    2ND PRD: BUF - (SH) JASON POMINVILLE 1 (DEREK ROY) 12:31

    Thrashers vs. SabresOct 11 8:43 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    ATLANTA 0 0
    BUFFALO 3 3 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: BUF - (PP) ALES KOTALIK 1 (TIM CONNOLLY, BRIAN CAMPBELL)
    3:00
    BUF - (PP) TIM CONNOLLY 1 (BRIAN CAMPBELL, ALES KOTALIK)
    11:01
    BUF - (PP) BRIAN CAMPBELL 1 (TIM CONNOLLY, JAROSLAV SPACEK)
    12:07
    SHOTS ON G

    Oct 11 7:49 PM


  • NHL
    ATLANTA 0
    BUFFALO 3
    1ST PRD: BUF - (PP) BRIAN CAMPBELL 1 (TIM CONNOLLY, JAROSLAV SPACEK)
    12:07

    Thrashers vs. SabresOct 11 7:40 PM


  • NHL
    ATLANTA 0
    BUFFALO 2
    1ST PRD: BUF - (PP) TIM CONNOLLY 1 (BRIAN CAMPBELL, ALES KOTALIK)
    11:01 (WITH EXTRA ATTACKER)

    Thrashers vs. SabresOct 11 7:34 PM


  • NHL
    ATLANTA 0
    BUFFALO 1
    1ST PRD: BUF - (PP) ALES KOTALIK 1 (TIM CONNOLLY, BRIAN CAMPBELL) 3:00

    Thrashers vs. SabresOct 11 7:16 PM
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