for this game

Vanek, Sabres hand Rangers first loss

Oct 16, 2008 - 4:01 AM By Larry Fleisher PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

NEW YORK (Ticker) -- Thomas Vanek is a known goal-scorer, but his success on the penalty kill is a recent development.

Vanek scored a shorthanded goal for the second straight game as the Buffalo Sabres defeated the previously unbeaten New York Rangers, 3-1, on Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden.

Vanek scored the go-ahead goal on the power play and added a shorthanded insurance tally, helping Buffalo improve to 3-0-0 for the second time in three seasons. The Sabres, who earned coach Lindy Ruff his 400th career victory in this one, also won their first three games two campaigns ago en route to tying a league record with a 10-0-0 start.

"It's my first year I've been doing it," Vanek said of working on the penalty kill. "Lindy's giving me some responsibilities and I've been taking the challenge positively, and hopefully, I can stay on it.

The 24-year-old Austrian posted his second straight two-goal effort and, including his final game of 2007-08, has eight goals in his last four regular-season contests.

"Everybody knows that he's a special player," Buffalo's Ales Kotalik said. "He's got a great scoring touch, and it looks like this year he's got the premium ice time and he's starting to play the penalty-killing for us."

Kotalik also scored a power-play goal and Ryan Miller made 19 saves for the Sabres, who have scored 10 times in their last two contests and allowed just three goals thus far this campaign.

Scott Gomez tallied for the Rangers, who failed to set a franchise record with their season-opening sixth consecutive victory. New York had tied the club mark of five in a row set in 1983-84 with Monday's 4-1 win over New Jersey but struggled to generate much all night against Buffalo.

"I thought we got away from some of the things we were doing," New York's Markus Naslund said. "We know we can play a lot better, even though we won the first five games. We weren't fooling ourselves, but it was a reality check tonight."

The Rangers also lost their composure midway through the second period, when defenseman Paul Mara punched Buffalo's Patrick Kaleta. Mara was given a fighting major and a game misconduct, allowing the Sabres to cash in nearly 2 1/2 minutes later.

It was the second time in less than a year that there was an incident between the two. Last February in Buffalo, Kaleta leveled Mara with a check, causing a head injury, and on Wednesday, he referenced the incident in a scrum.

"There, he made a pretty classless move, asking me how my face was," Mara said. "You don't want to hurt guys in this league. For him to say that, it's classless."

After Derek Roy won a neutral-zone faceoff against Gomez, he regained possession and fired a wrist shot from the right faceoff circle that goaltender Henrik Lundqvist was unable to control. Vanek raced through the slot, breezed past two defenders and smacked the rebound past Lundqvist with 7 1/2 minutes left in the second for a 2-1 edge.

"Derek got a good shot on the first one and I just kept going to the net, and it popped out of Lundqvist's glove and I was right there," Vanek said.

Vanek scored his first career shorthanded goal against the New York Islanders on Monday, when the Sabres struck three times in 3:32 during the second period of a 7-1 rout. This time, he came through with Buffalo clinging to a one-goal lead and shorthanded for four minutes after captain Craig Rivet received a double minor for high-sticking Ryan Callahan just 14 seconds into the third.

Vanek sapped all the energy from New York's lengthy power play by finishing off a 2-on-1 with Daniel Paille.

"He sensed that Danny was going to create something for him up ice," Ruff said. "It seems like almost instantly, those two guys have a little bit of chemistry as penalty-killers."

Gomez opened the scoring 6:32 into the contest by leaving a drop pass for Michal Rozsival, racing to the net and tipping the defenseman's shot past Miller.

After Gomez's second goal of the season, the Rangers did not generate another shot for nearly 20 minutes. Buffalo tied it when Kotalik scored off a goalmouth scramble, ending New York's season-opening streak of 23 straight successful penalty kills.

"We didn't put enough pucks on the net," New York coach Tom Renney said. "We didn't share the puck near the net. Maybe it was (that) type of game. You do have to invest an awful lot of time and effort to be a winner."








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    BUFFALO 0 2 1 3
    NY RANGERS 1 0 0 1 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NYR - SCOTT GOMEZ 2 (MICHAL ROZSIVAL, RYAN CALLAHAN) 6:32
    2ND PRD: BUF - (PP) ALES KOTALIK 2 (CLARKE MACARTHUR, TEPPO NUMMINEN)
    5:03
    BUF - (PP) THOMAS VANEK 4 (DEREK ROY, JASON POMINVILLE)
    12:30
    3RD PRD: BUF - (SH) T

    Oct 15 9:28 PM


  • NHL
    BUFFALO 3
    NY RANGERS 1
    3RD PRD: BUF - (SH) THOMAS VANEK 5 (DANIEL PAILLE, TONI LYDMAN) 1:10

    Sabres 3, Rangers 1  3rd - 18:50Oct 15 8:55 PM
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    Sabres 2, Rangers 1  End of 2ndOct 15 8:42 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    BUFFALO 0 2 2
    NY RANGERS 1 0 1 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NYR - SCOTT GOMEZ 2 (MICHAL ROZSIVAL, RYAN CALLAHAN) 6:32
    2ND PRD: BUF - (PP) CLARKE MACARTHUR 2 (TEPPO NUMMINEN, CRAIG RIVET)
    5:03
    BUF - (PP) THOMAS VANEK 4 (DEREK ROY, JASON POMINVILLE)
    12:30
    SHOTS ON

    Oct 15 8:34 PM


  • NHL
    BUFFALO 2
    NY RANGERS 1
    2ND PRD: BUF - (PP) THOMAS VANEK 4 (DEREK ROY, JASON POMINVILLE) 12:30

    Sabres 2, Rangers 1  2nd - 7:30Oct 15 8:22 PM
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    Sabres 1, Rangers 1  2nd - 9:50Oct 15 8:17 PM


  • NHL
    BUFFALO 1
    NY RANGERS 1
    2ND PRD: BUF - (PP) CLARKE MACARTHUR 2 (TEPPO NUMMINEN, CRAIG RIVET)
    5:03

    Sabres 1, Rangers 1  2nd - 14:57Oct 15 8:07 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    BUFFALO 0 0
    NY RANGERS 1 1 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NYR - SCOTT GOMEZ 2 (MICHAL ROZSIVAL, RYAN CALLAHAN) 6:32
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    BUF 5 5
    NYR 3 3
    GOALIES: BUF - RYAN MILLER
    NYR

    Oct 15 7:41 PM


  • NHL
    BUFFALO 0
    NY RANGERS 1
    1ST PRD: NYR - MICHAL ROZSIVAL 2 (SCOTT GOMEZ, RYAN CALLAHAN) 6:32

    Sabres 0, Rangers 1  1st - 13:28Oct 15 7:18 PM
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    Sabres vs. RangersOct 15 6:15 PM
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    Sabres vs. RangersOct 14 2:14 PM