Atlanta at Buffalo

Buffalo snaps 10-game winless skid in style

CBSSports.com wire reports
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BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Ryan Miller had a good feeling Friday was going to be the night the Sabres ended their lengthy winless skid. The goalie even figured it could be a blowout. He couldn't have been more right.

Drew Stafford and Derek Roy had hat tricks and Buffalo routed the Atlanta Thrashers 10-1 to end a 10-game stretch without a win.

Thomas Vanek and Jochen Hecht each had a goal and two assists for the Sabres, who got off to a fast start with four goals in the first period. It was Stafford's first three-goal game, and he also had two assists for a career-high five points, while Roy registered his third career hat trick and added an assist.

Miller made his prediction over lunch with teammates Tim Connolly and Maxim Afinogenov.

"I said, 'You know, it's just going to have to be one of those games where everybody's clicking and we win something ridiculous like 7-1,'" Miller said. "Even my one-cent prediction got blown away."

And how. Buffalo, which came within two games of tying a franchise-record 12-game winless stretch set in 1991 and matched in 2002, scored its most goals since a 10-1 win over Los Angeles in Jan. 2006. That was also the last time two Sabres players had hat tricks in the same game for the first time since Jason Pominville and Hecht did so against the Kings.

"It doesn't happen often, scoring 10 goals in a game," Roy said. "I think everybody was anxious to get out there and contribute."

Daniel Paille and Ales Kotalik also scored for the Sabres, who won for the first time since a 6-5 shootout victory over Philadelphia on Dec. 22. They had scored just 16 times during their 10-game winless stretch.

"We weren't trying to do anything fancy, we were just trying to outwork them," Stafford said. "It feels good to finally win."

Colin Stuart scored for Atlanta, which was playing 24 hours after losing in a shootout to Montreal. The loss, coupled with Carolina's win over Edmonton on Friday, dropped the Thrashers out of first place in the Southeast Division.

Atlanta goalie Johan Hedberg allowed four goals on 11 shots before being pulled 12:41 into the game. Kari Lehtonen gave up three more goals on 21 shots through the second period before Hedberg returned for the third. He finished with 21 saves overall.

It was the most goals allowed by Atlanta in franchise history.

"This feeling is something I don't want to feel again," Hedberg said.

"It's our most embarrassing loss in a long, long time," captain Bobby Holik said. "I don't think the team needs losses like this to learn from."

The Sabres followed their four-goal first with three more in the second. They also netted three goals on the power play overall, the first time in six games they were able to convert with the man advantage.

Paille scored just 1:54 in, and Stafford made it 2-0 at 5:14. Roy, returning after a four-game absence because of a shoulder injury, capped the Sabres opening-period barrage with two goals in less than a four-minute span.

Stuart made it 4-1 at 10:08 of the first with a short-handed goal.

After pumping 16 shots on goal in the first 20 minutes, the Sabres followed with another 16 in the second, with Hecht, Roy and Vanek each scoring.

Stafford made it 8-1 eight minutes into the third, then completed his three-goal night with his 11th of the year at 11:38.

Kotalik capped the scoring with a power-play goal with 2:18 left in the third after Thrashers forward Eric Boulton picked up 29 minutes in penalties when he instigated a scrum involving Hecht at 12:49.

Sabres forward Michael Ryan sustained an eye injury late in the game when Stuart high-sticked him.

Notes

  • The Sabres will play their next seven games on the road.
  • Hedberg made his first start in five games, and just his eighth appearance in the past 25 games.
  • Atlanta LW Brad Larsen (groin) missed his third game.
  • Lehtonen was yanked after allowing five goals in 40 minutes in Buffalo's 6-0 win over Atlanta in October.
  • Buffalo defenseman Dmitri Kalinin added three assists, his first points since the season opener.
  • Atlanta LW Ilya Kovalchuk was held without a point for the second straight game after an 10-game point streak.
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Drew Stafford gets past Johan Hedberg for the second of his three goals during Buffalo's rout. (Getty Images)
Drew Stafford gets past Johan Hedberg for the second of his three goals during Buffalo's rout. (Getty Images)

Scoreboard
Atlanta (23-23-3)1001
Buffalo  (20-19-6) «43310
Three Stars
D. Stafford
BUF


Goals: 3
Assist(s): 2
D. Roy
BUF


Goals: 3
Assist(s): 1
T. Vanek
BUF


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 2
Scoring Summary
1ST PERIOD
01:54Daniel Paille (9), Tip-In. Assist: Ales Kotalik, Paul Gaustad
05:14Power Play - Drew Stafford (9), Wrist Shot. Assist: Jason Pominville, Brian Campbell
05:37Derek Roy (14), Wrist Shot. Assist: Drew Stafford, Thomas Vanek
09:07Derek Roy (15), Backhand Shot. Assist: Drew Stafford, Thomas Vanek
10:08Short - Colin Stuart (3), Wrist Shot, Unassisted.
2ND PERIOD
05:30Jochen Hecht (15), Backhand Shot. Assist: Jason Pominville, Henrik Tallinder
14:41Derek Roy (16), Tip-In. Assist: Daniel Paille, Dmitri Kalinin
19:15Power Play - Thomas Vanek (13), Tip-In. Assist: Dmitri Kalinin, Jochen Hecht
3RD PERIOD
07:53Drew Stafford (10), Wrist Shot. Assist: Michael Ryan, Dmitri Kalinin
11:38Drew Stafford (11), Tip-In. Assist: Toni Lydman, Derek Roy
17:42Power Play - Ales Kotalik (14), Slap Shot. Assist: Brian Campbell, Jochen Hecht
Penalty Summary
1ST PERIOD
04:55Holik, 2 min, Hooking
06:13Exelby, 2 min, Roughing
06:13Hecht, 2 min, Roughing
06:35Campbell, 2 min, Interference
09:32Dupuis, 2 min, Hooking
16:07Vanek, 2 min, Goaltender Interference
2ND PERIOD
07:11Exelby, 2 min, Roughing
07:31Roy, 2 min, Hooking
10:46Thorburn, 5 min, Fighting
10:46Thorburn, 2 min, Instigator
10:46Pratt, 5 min, Fighting
10:46Thorburn, 10 min, Misconduct
17:19Klee, 2 min, Holding
3RD PERIOD
01:18Pominville, 2 min, Tripping
01:35Lydman, 2 min, Slashing
05:44Stafford, 2 min, Elbowing
12:49Hecht, 2 min, Roughing
12:49Boulton, 2 min, Cross-Checking
12:49Boulton, 2 min, Instigator
12:49Boulton, 5 min, Fighting
12:49Boulton, 10 min, Misconduct
12:49Boulton, 10 min, Game Misconduct
12:49Exelby, 10 min, Misconduct
12:49Exelby, 2 min, Roughing
17:10Stuart, 2 min, High-Sticking
Shots On Goal
 123T
Atlanta651324
Buffalo16161749
Goalies
GoalieMINSSGA
Johan Hedberg32:41217
Kari Lehtonen27:19183
Ryan Miller60:00231
Game Information
Attendance - 18690
Referees - Kerry Fraser, Rob Martell
Linesmen - Steve Barton, Andy McElman
 
Other Games
Fla 2 Final
NJ 1
Chi 2 Final
Colo 1
TB 3 Final
Pitt 0
Edm 2 Final
Car 7
Ana 4 Final
Min 2
LA 1 Final
Cal 6