for this game

Hossa leads Thrashers over slumping Sabres

Jan 6, 2008 - 11:20 PM
By Phil Foley PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

ATLANTA (Ticker) - Marian Hossa and the Atlanta Thrashers continued the Buffalo Sabres' misery.

Hossa scored two goals and Johan Hedberg turned aside 37 shots to lead the Thrashers to a 5-2 win over the slumping Sabres on Sunday afternoon.

Colin Stuart added a goal and an assist and Pascual Dupuis also found the net for the Thrashers, who handed the Sabres their sixth consecutive loss.

"Definitely, it was a huge win," said Hossa, whose team improved to 21-21-1. "Every win is huge right now. I thought we played a good team game. I think, overall, it was a great game."

With Buffalo holding a 1-0 lead, the 27-year old Hossa intercepted defenseman Dmitri Kalinin's clearing pass behind the net and beat Buffalo goaltender Ryan Miller with a wraparound for his 15th tally of the season at 9:20 of the first period.

In the third period, the Slovakian standout extended the Thrashers' lead. He took a cross-ice pass from center Eric Perrin down the right wing and lofted a wrister from the right faceoff circle past Miller to give Atlanta an insurmountable 4-1 cushion.

Hedberg was solid in net for Atlanta, doing most of his work in the second period, when he made 15 saves to win for only the second time since December 7.

"Afternoon games are a different feeling," Hedberg said. "You're playing in the middle of nap time. I had to be awake. I get a lot more excited in afternoon games. It feels like a holiday feeling. I enjoy it."

"I think we battled really good," Thrashers coach Don Waddell added. "We got some saves at the right time from Hedberg. I think it was a group effort for everybody tonight."

Things looked promising for the offensively challenged Sabres early, as Thomas Vanek got Buffalo on the board at 6:10, tipping Brian Campbell's shot from above the circles past a screened Hedberg.

But Atlanta took the lead for good on a bizarre goal at 6:45 of the second period. Dupuis dug out the puck from behind the left side of the net and put a shot on goal that trickled into the net off Miller's skate.

Stuart, who was recalled from Chicago of the American Hockey League on December 28, made his first start on Atlanta's top line with Hossa and Perrin.

The adjustment paid immediate dividends as the rookie tallied his second career goal on a breakaway 1:37 into the third period.

Nearing the end of his shift, the 25-year-old Stuart gathered the puck in his own territory and split two defenders in the Buffalo zone before lacing a backhander past the left skate of Miller to give the Thrashers a 3-1 lead.

"Tonight, I was lucky enough to get on the board," Stuart said. "I was going top fast to make a move, so I just took it into the far side (of the net) and tucked it in on my backhand."

"Stuart made us look good tonight," Waddell said. "He played a heck of a hockey game and made a great play, not only on his goal but on the next goal (by Hossa) along the boards."

Clarke MacArthur pulled Buffalo within 4-2 at 9:34 of the third, but it was not enough for the Sabres, who have scored just 10 goals during their losing streak.

"We had some really good opportunities, but we weren't able to score," Sabres right wing Jason Pominville said. "For most of the night, we played well in their zone, but weren't able to capitalize on our chances."

Buffalo had two chances with a man advantage in the game's final 10 minutes, but came up empty each time. The Sabres finished 0-for-5 on the power play.

"You can't get back into the game playing safely," Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff said. "We had to push hard to get back in the game and had to limit their opportunities. It's tough."

Miller finished with 25 saves for the Sabres, who have dropped six in a row for the first time since March 18-27, 2006.

"We put enough work into the game, but we made enough mistakes," Ruff said. "Look at the first three goals (by Atlanta). We tried to push the envelope and allowed good opportunities."

Ilya Kovalchuk capped the scoring with his league-leading 34th goal into an empty net with 15 seconds remaining.

The Thrashers improved to 13-1-0 when leading after two periods.








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    BUFFALO 1 0 1 2
    ATLANTA 1 1 3 5 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: BUF - THOMAS VANEK 12 (BRIAN CAMPBELL, ALES KOTALIK) 6:10
    ATL - MARIAN HOSSA 15 (UNASSISTED) 9:20
    2ND PRD: ATL - PASCAL DUPUIS 8 (UNASSISTED) 6:45
    3RD PRD: ATL - COLIN STUART 2 (UNASSISTED) 1:37
    ATL - MARIAN HOSSA 16

    Jan 6 4:31 PM


  • NHL
    BUFFALO 2
    ATLANTA 5
    3RD PRD: ATL - (EN) ILYA KOVALCHUK 34 (TODD WHITE) 19:45

    Sabres vs. ThrashersJan 6 4:30 PM


  • NHL
    BUFFALO 2
    ATLANTA 4
    3RD PRD: BUF - CLARKE MACARTHUR 4 (JASON POMINVILLE, JOCHEN HECHT)
    9:34

    Sabres vs. ThrashersJan 6 4:12 PM


  • NHL
    BUFFALO 1
    ATLANTA 4
    3RD PRD: ATL - MARIAN HOSSA 16 (ERIC PERRIN, COLIN STUART) 5:14

    Sabres vs. ThrashersJan 6 4:03 PM


  • NHL
    BUFFALO 1
    ATLANTA 3
    3RD PRD: ATL - COLIN STUART 2 (UNASSISTED) 1:37

    Sabres vs. ThrashersJan 6 3:58 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    BUFFALO 1 0 1
    ATLANTA 1 1 2 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: BUF - THOMAS VANEK 12 (BRIAN CAMPBELL, ALES KOTALIK) 6:10
    ATL - MARIAN HOSSA 15 (UNASSISTED) 9:20
    2ND PRD: ATL - PASCAL DUPUIS 8 (UNASSISTED) 6:45
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- ---

    Jan 6 3:36 PM


  • NHL
    BUFFALO 1
    ATLANTA 2
    2ND PRD: ATL - PASCAL DUPUIS 8 (UNASSISTED) 6:45

    Sabres vs. ThrashersJan 6 3:12 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    BUFFALO 1 1
    ATLANTA 1 1 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: BUF - THOMAS VANEK 12 (BRIAN CAMPBELL, ALES KOTALIK) 6:10
    ATL - MARIAN HOSSA 15 (UNASSISTED) 9:20
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    BUF 12 12
    ATL 11

    Jan 6 2:43 PM


  • NHL
    BUFFALO 1
    ATLANTA 1
    1ST PRD: ATL - MARIAN HOSSA 15 (UNASSISTED) 9:20

    Sabres vs. ThrashersJan 6 2:26 PM


  • NHL
    BUFFALO 1
    ATLANTA 0
    1ST PRD: BUF - BRIAN CAMPBELL 5 (ALES KOTALIK) 6:10

    Sabres vs. ThrashersJan 6 2:21 PM