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Vanek, Sabres continue to roll

Oct 18, 2008 - 4:16 AM BUFFALO, New York (Ticker) -- Thomas Vanek and the Buffalo Sabres continued their fast start on Friday.

The 24-year-old scored his league-leading sixth goal of the season and added two assists as the Sabres posted their fourth straight win, a 5-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks.

Ales Kotalik tallied twice and Ryan Miller made 23 saves for the Sabres, who have outscored their opponents, 17-5, to start the campaign.

"This is a good team offensively. We know we can score goals," Vanek said. "We've made a huge commitment to play good defensive hockey, and it's paying off for us right now."

Buffalo took control of the contest early, taking advantage of a couple of costly penalties.

After Vancouver's Willie Mitchell was given a delay-of-game penalty for firing the puck over the glass, fellow defenseman Jaroslav Spacek blasted a one-timer from the right point through a screen and over goaltender Curtis Sanford's shoulder for a 1-0 lead just 76 seconds into the game.

"We wanted to get off to a quick start," Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff said. "I think our speed created a couple of opportunities, which led to penalties. Then the power play did a nice job."

Later in the period, Canucks blue-liner Shane O'Brien received a double-minor for roughing, allowing Clarke MacArthur to double the lead at 8:30. Captain Craig Rivet's one-timer from the left faceoff circle was stopped, but MacArthur was there to pick up the rebound and backhand it in for his second tally of the season.

Kotalik made it 3-0 with 6:50 remaining in the first, scoring on a wrist shot from the top of the slot that squirted between Sanford's pads.

"Anytime you spot a team that only gave up three goals in three games a three-goal lead right off the bat, you're obviously not giving yourself a chance to win," Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said.

Ryan Kesler got the Canucks on the board less than two minutes into the second period, but Vanek restored the Sabres' three-goal bulge at 10:33 of the middle session. The Austrian left wing received the puck at the top of the crease and flipped a backhander into the top right corner of the net.

"I've been on good streaks before and then went really cold," Vanek said. "I'm just trying to work hard and be consistent."

"It's the effort that really sticks out," Ruff said of Vanek. "There's not many guys that can score the goal he scored. You know there's little stuff in behind the play that we still want to keep working on. He's come a long way in a short period of time, but we're only four games in, too."

Vanek has scored in all four games for Buffalo, which is a perfect 18-for-18 on the penalty kill this season. The Sabres, who successfully killed all three of the Canucks' opportunities with the man advantage, are one of four teams in the league who have yet to yield a power-play goal.

Steve Bernier tallied at 5:06 of the third to get Vancouver within 4-2, but Kotalik scored his second of the night off a feed from Vanek with 5:49 remaining to provide the game's final margin.

Getting a rare start in place of captain Roberto Luongo, Sanford made 26 saves for the Canucks.

"I wasn't playing my game in the first period, and it showed," Sanford said. "I was fighting the puck a little bit, and all of a sudden, the bounces were going their way. You can't spot a team three goals in the NHL. It's too big of a hole."








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    VANCOUVER 0 1 1 2
    BUFFALO 3 1 1 5 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: BUF - (PP) JAROSLAV SPACEK 1 (ANDREJ SEKERA, THOMAS VANEK)
    1:16
    BUF - (PP) CLARKE MACARTHUR 2 (CRAIG RIVET, TEPPO NUMMINEN)
    8:30
    BUF - ALES KOTALIK 3 (MAXIM AFINOGENOV) 13:10
    2ND PRD: VAN - RYAN KESLER 3 (ALEXANDRE

    Oct 17 9:56 PM


  • NHL
    VANCOUVER 2
    BUFFALO 5
    3RD PRD: BUF - ALES KOTALIK 4 (THOMAS VANEK) 14:11

    Canucks 2, Sabres 5  3rd - 5:49Oct 17 9:47 PM


  • NHL
    VANCOUVER 2
    BUFFALO 4
    3RD PRD: VAN - STEVE BERNIER 2 (HENRIK SEDIN, MASON RAYMOND) 5:06

    Canucks 2, Sabres 4  3rd - 14:54Oct 17 9:30 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    VANCOUVER 0 1 1
    BUFFALO 3 1 4 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: BUF - (PP) JAROSLAV SPACEK 1 (ANDREJ SEKERA, DEREK ROY) 1:16
    BUF - (PP) CLARKE MACARTHUR 2 (CRAIG RIVET, TEPPO NUMMINEN)
    8:30
    BUF - ALES KOTALIK 3 (MAXIM AFINOGENOV) 13:10
    2ND PRD: VAN - RYAN KESLER 3 (A

    Oct 17 9:03 PM


  • NHL
    VANCOUVER 1
    BUFFALO 4
    2ND PRD: BUF - THOMAS VANEK 6 (UNASSISTED) 10:33

    Canucks 1, Sabres 4  2nd - 9:27Oct 17 8:49 PM


  • NHL
    VANCOUVER 1
    BUFFALO 3
    2ND PRD: VAN - RYAN KESLER 3 (ALEXANDRE BURROWS, WILLIE MITCHELL) 1:57

    Canucks 1, Sabres 3  2nd - 18:03Oct 17 8:37 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    VANCOUVER 0 0
    BUFFALO 3 3 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: BUF - (PP) JAROSLAV SPACEK 1 (ANDREJ SEKERA, DEREK ROY) 1:16
    BUF - (PP) CLARKE MACARTHUR 2 (CRAIG RIVET, TEPPO NUMMINEN)
    8:30
    BUF - ALES KOTALIK 3 (MAXIM AFINOGENOV) 13:10
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND

    Oct 17 8:14 PM


  • NHL
    VANCOUVER 0
    BUFFALO 3
    1ST PRD: BUF - ALES KOTALIK 3 (MAXIM AFINOGENOV) 13:10

    Canucks 0, Sabres 3  1st - 6:50Oct 17 8:08 PM


  • NHL
    VANCOUVER 0
    BUFFALO 2
    1ST PRD: BUF - (PP) CLARKE MACARTHUR 2 (CRAIG RIVET, TEPPO NUMMINEN)
    8:30

    Canucks 0, Sabres 2  1st - 11:30Oct 17 7:56 PM


  • NHL
    VANCOUVER 0
    BUFFALO 1
    1ST PRD: BUF - (PP) JAROSLAV SPACEK 1 (ANDREJ SEKERA, DEREK ROY) 1:16

    Canucks 0, Sabres 1  1st - 18:44Oct 17 7:42 PM