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Vanek's hat trick leads Sabres to rout of Maple Leafs

Feb 5, 2009 - 5:16 AM
BUFFALO, New York (Ticker) -- In his team's first home game in over two weeks, All-Star Thomas Vanek's record-setting hat trick made sure the Buffalo Sabres' fans had something to cheer about.

Vanek became just the second player in NHL history to record four straight natural hat tricks as the Sabres skated to a 5-0 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday.

Tim Connolly and Drew Stafford each added a goal and an assist for Buffalo, which played its first home game since a 3-1 triumph over Carolina on January 17.

Ryan Miller rarely was tested in goal, making five saves in the first period, four in the second and seven in the third to record his fifth shutout of the season and 12th career. He also extended his scoreless streak to 126 minutes, 52 seconds.

But the night belonged to Vanek, who scored three straight goals bridging the second and third periods to record his fifth career hat trick.

"We have pretty good chemistry with Drew and Timmy," Vanek said of his line. "It's only been five or six games we've been together, but so far, so good."

Vanek joined Cy Denneny, who accomplished the feat with the Ottawa Senators between 1923-24, as the only players in NHL history to record four consecutive hat tricks of the natural variety.

"Great stat there," said Vanek, who had registered just two goals in his previous 11 games. "I felt good tonight. The puck was bouncing my way tonight. It's a good sign."

Vanek buried a rebound on the power play just 2:37 into the second period to make it 3-0. The Austrian netted two more goals in the first half of the third, including one with the man advantage, to raise his season total to 32.

Following a 3-3-0 road trip for the Sabres, Connolly got the home crowd going early with his 10th goal of the season just 2:23 into the opening session. Stafford added his 14th with 7:08 left as Buffalo controlled the game from the start against a listless Toronto team.

"We had a good first couple shifts. We got the lead early, that really helps," Vanek said. "When you come back from a road trip like that, you don't want to get behind, you want to get the lead, keep building on that lead. We did that all game."

Miller, who has recorded back-to-back shutouts, last gave up a goal in the third period of a 5-2 loss to Calgary on January 28.

"When the boys play like that, it makes it easier on me," Miller said. "If we see more games like this, it's going to be good. We're on the same page. (The defense) was traveling in front trying to block shots."

Recalled from the minors earlier in the day, Justin Pogge allowed five goals on 32 shots in his third career NHL start for the Maple Leafs, who fell to 3-7-3 in their last 13 contests.

"Thank God for Justin Pogge, he had an outstanding game," Toronto coach Ron Wilson said. "He made a number of saves or it could have been really ugly. I would have expected our guys to compete a little harder in front of him after the last game he played in Minnesota. It wasn't one of our better efforts."






  • 15
    roots
    #1 Cards Fan Added 10 roots

    Maple Leafs 0, Sabres 5  FinalFeb 5 6:23 AM


  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TORONTO 0 0 0 0
    BUFFALO 2 1 2 5 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: BUF - TIM CONNOLLY 10 (CRAIG RIVET, THOMAS VANEK) 2:23
    BUF - DREW STAFFORD 14 (CLARKE MACARTHUR, TEPPO NUMMINEN)
    12:52
    2ND PRD: BUF - (PP) THOMAS VANEK 30 (TIM CONNOLLY, JASON POMINVILLE)
    2:37
    3RD PRD: BUF - THOMAS

    Feb 4 10:11 PM


  • NHL
    TORONTO 0
    BUFFALO 5
    3RD PRD: BUF - (PP) THOMAS VANEK 32 (JASON POMINVILLE, ALES KOTALIK)
    9:13 (TWO-MAN ADVANTAGE)

    Maple Leafs 0, Sabres 5  3rd - 10:47Feb 4 9:51 PM


  • NHL
    TORONTO 0
    BUFFALO 4
    3RD PRD: BUF - THOMAS VANEK 31 (DREW STAFFORD) 5:36

    Maple Leafs 0, Sabres 4  3rd - 14:24Feb 4 9:40 PM
  • 5
    roots
    bouch Added 5 roots

    Maple Leafs 0, Sabres 3  End of 2ndFeb 4 9:19 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TORONTO 0 0 0
    BUFFALO 2 1 3 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: BUF - TIM CONNOLLY 10 (CRAIG RIVET, THOMAS VANEK) 2:23
    BUF - DREW STAFFORD 14 (CLARKE MACARTHUR, TEPPO NUMMINEN)
    12:52
    2ND PRD: BUF - (PP) THOMAS VANEK 30 (TIM CONNOLLY, JASON POMINVILLE)
    2:37
    SHOTS ON

    Feb 4 9:13 PM


  • NHL
    TORONTO 0
    BUFFALO 3
    2ND PRD: BUF - (PP) THOMAS VANEK 30 (TIM CONNOLLY, JASON POMINVILLE)
    2:37

    Maple Leafs 0, Sabres 3  2nd - 17:23Feb 4 8:43 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TORONTO 0 0
    BUFFALO 2 2 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: BUF - TIM CONNOLLY 10 (CRAIG RIVET, THOMAS VANEK) 2:23
    BUF - DREW STAFFORD 14 (CLARKE MACARTHUR, TEPPO NUMMINEN)
    12:52
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TOR 5

    Feb 4 8:20 PM


  • NHL
    TORONTO 0
    BUFFALO 2
    1ST PRD: BUF - DREW STAFFORD 14 (CLARKE MACARTHUR, TEPPO NUMMINEN)
    12:52

    Maple Leafs 0, Sabres 2  1st - 7:08Feb 4 8:08 PM


  • NHL
    TORONTO 0
    BUFFALO 1
    1ST PRD: BUF - TIM CONNOLLY 10 (CRAIG RIVET, THOMAS VANEK) 2:23

    Maple Leafs 0, Sabres 1  1st - 17:37Feb 4 7:45 PM