for this game

Vanek powers Sabres past reeling Lightning

Dec 11, 2008 - 4:38 AM
BUFFALO, New York (Ticker) -- Thomas Vanek recorded his NHL-leading 21st and 22nd goals in the second period as the Buffalo Sabres overcame an early two-goal deficit and handed the Tampa Bay Lightning their ninth straight defeat with a 4-2 triumph on Wednesday.

Drew Stafford netted a power-play goal, Jason Pominville added an empty-net goal and two assists and Ryan Miller made 26 saves for Buffalo, which has won three in a row.

"I said this after we won two in a row," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. "Someone said, 'Have you turned the corner?' I said, 'You turn the corner and the next thing you face is another corner.'"

Martin St. Louis and Mark Recchi scored and Mike Smith turned aside 33 shots for Tampa Bay, which fell to 0-7-2 in its last nine games and 1-7-4 since firing coach Barry Melrose on November 14.

"When things are going the wrong way, you have to not so much play perfect, but you gotta play a smart game," Lightning interim coach Rick Tocchet said.

"When you go nine, 10 games without a win, it really wears on players - and it's no different tonight," Smith added. "I've been on some pretty bad teams, but this is definitely right up there with the toughest stretch (of my career) - definitely in the NHL, I can tell you that."

After leveling the contest with 8:08 remaining in the second period with a goal on a breakaway, Vanek gave Buffalo a 3-2 lead with 15 seconds remaining in the session, accepting a feed on the doorstep and backhanding the puck just under the crossbar.

"It's not what we want to do, but in the end, it's nice to get a win," Vanek said of his team scoring four unanswered goals. "I thought the last 50 minutes, we played well and deserved to win."

For the 24-year-old Austrian, it was his 15th goal in 15 career games against the Lightning. It also capped his sixth multi-goal effort of the season.

Vanek entered the contest tied with Jeff Carter of the Philadelphia Flyers for the league lead in tallies.

After Tampa Bay scored twice in just under a six-minute span in the latter half of the first, Stafford halved the deficit with 38 seconds remaining in the period by deflecting defenseman Jaroslav Spacek's wrist shot from the left point past Smith during a power play.

"We really had to battle back after a tough start," Miller said. "I thought it was one of our better home games after we got our feet under us."

"I think we just started off bad," Buffalo's Paul Gaustad said. "That's something that we've had a problem with sometimes in this season, but I think we showed a lot of character coming back. Sometimes we have bad starts and then haven't followed up through it."

Pominville scored with 13 seconds remaining in the third to seal the win for the Sabres.

"Each game is a new day, and it seems like we're getting the same result. We can't have that," Tampa Bay's Ryan Craig said.








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TAMPA BAY 2 0 0 2
    BUFFALO 1 2 1 4 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: TAM - MARTIN ST. LOUIS 8 (STEVEN STAMKOS) 10:21
    TAM - MARK RECCHI 7 (PAUL RANGER, PAUL SZCZECHURA) 16:18
    BUF - (PP) DREW STAFFORD 5 (JAROSLAV SPACEK, JASON
    POMINVILLE) 19:22
    2ND PRD: BUF - THOMAS VANEK 21 (ALES KOTAL

    Dec 10 9:45 PM


  • NHL
    TAMPA BAY 2
    BUFFALO 4
    3RD PRD: BUF - (SH) (EN) JASON POMINVILLE 9 (JOCHEN HECHT) 19:47

    Lightning 2, Sabres 4  3rd - 0:13Dec 10 9:42 PM
  • 15
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    RUWTbot Took away 17 roots

    Lightning 2, Sabres 4  3rd - 0:13Dec 10 9:42 PM
  • 32
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    RUWTbot Added 17 roots (Close Finish)

    Lightning 2, Sabres 3  3rd - 1:00Dec 10 9:37 PM
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    Lightning 2, Sabres 3  3rd - 19:55Dec 10 9:08 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TAMPA BAY 2 0 2
    BUFFALO 1 2 3 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: TAM - MARTIN ST. LOUIS 8 (STEVEN STAMKOS) 10:21
    TAM - MARK RECCHI 7 (PAUL RANGER, PAUL SZCZECHURA) 16:18
    BUF - (PP) DREW STAFFORD 5 (JAROSLAV SPACEK, JASON
    POMINVILLE) 19:22
    2ND PRD: BUF - THOMAS VANEK 2

    Dec 10 8:48 PM


  • NHL
    TAMPA BAY 2
    BUFFALO 3
    2ND PRD: BUF - (PP) THOMAS VANEK 22 (DEREK ROY, JASON POMINVILLE)
    19:45

    Lightning 2, Sabres 3  2nd - 0:15Dec 10 8:47 PM


  • NHL
    TAMPA BAY 2
    BUFFALO 2
    2ND PRD: BUF - THOMAS VANEK 21 (ALES KOTALIK) 11:52

    Lightning 2, Sabres 2  2nd - 8:08Dec 10 8:33 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TAMPA BAY 2 2
    BUFFALO 1 1 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: TAM - MARTIN ST. LOUIS 8 (STEVEN STAMKOS) 10:21
    TAM - MARK RECCHI 7 (PAUL RANGER, PAUL SZCZECHURA) 16:18
    BUF - (PP) DREW STAFFORD 5 (JAROSLAV SPACEK, JASON
    POMINVILLE) 19:22
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2N

    Dec 10 7:49 PM


  • NHL
    TAMPA BAY 2
    BUFFALO 1
    1ST PRD: BUF - (PP) DREW STAFFORD 5 (JAROSLAV SPACEK, JASON
    POMINVILLE) 19:22

    Lightning 2, Sabres 1  1st - 0:38Dec 10 7:48 PM
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    bouch Added 5 roots

    Lightning 2, Sabres 0  1st - 3:42Dec 10 7:46 PM


  • NHL
    TAMPA BAY 2
    BUFFALO 0
    1ST PRD: TAM - MARK RECCHI 7 (PAUL RANGER, PAUL SZCZECHURA) 16:18

    Lightning 2, Sabres 0  1st - 3:42Dec 10 7:41 PM


  • NHL
    TAMPA BAY 1
    BUFFALO 0
    1ST PRD: TAM - MARTIN ST. LOUIS 8 (STEVEN STAMKOS) 10:21

    Lightning 1, Sabres 0  1st - 9:39Dec 10 7:28 PM