The good news for Buffalo was that Thomas Vanek scored two of the Sabres' four second-period goals in a 6-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. The bad news: They might be Vanek's last goals for quite a while.
Vanek wiped out into the end boards after scoring his second of the game and Buffalo's fourth of the period at 12:46. He left the ice and didn't return due to what the Sabres called an "upper-body injury."
"Thomas is going to miss some time," coach Lindy Ruff said. When asked for a more specific time frame, he replied, "weeks."
Vanek's injury was the only down note in Buffalo's biggest offensive outburst of the season. The Sabres went 2-0-1 in their first three games despite scoring just four goals -- a total they matched in the second period alone.
"After what we went through in Nashville (a 1-0 victory on Saturday night in which the Sabres had 42 shots), it was good to see them go in," Ruff said.
He said he's confident the Sabres will be able to deal with the absence of last season's top goal-scorer.
"It's tough, but we have extra players and every team deals with injuries," Ruff said. "Every team is going to miss key players along the way and I think we have enough depth."
The victory ended the Sabres' three-game losing streak to the Wings, who hadn't lost at HSBC Arena since March 10, 2002. It was the most goals scored by the Sabres against Detroit since Buffalo won 10-7 on Feb. 24, 1993.
At 3-0-1, the Sabres are one of two teams that haven't lost in regulation. Dallas is 1-0-3 after four games. Goaltender Ryan Miller, who finished with 23 saves, has allowed just five goals in the four games.
"I'm happy with the way the boys are playing," Miller said. "I'm getting a lot of great support all over the ice."
Detroit, which had won its last two games, fell to 2-3-0.
"I thought the last two games we skated better," Wings coach Mike Babcock said of his team's home wins over Chicago and Washington. "I thought Buffalo skated better than is tonight."
The teams were tied 1-1 on first-period power-play goals by Buffalo's Drew Stafford and Detroit's Valtteri Filppula when the Sabres scored four times in less than seven minutes to blow the game wide-open.
Patrick Kaleta broke the tie at 6:03, backhanding a rebound past Chris Osgood after the goaltender stopped Tyler Myers on a rink-length rush.
"Tyler made a great rush, an outstanding play," Ruff said of the effort by the rookie defenseman, Buffalo's first-round pick in last year's draft.
Vanek made it 3-1 at 8:04 when he took Derek Roy's pass, broke down the left wing, stopped and slid a shot through traffic at Osgood's left post that hit defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom and went and into the net.
Roy got his second assist by slipping a pass through the defense to Clarke MacArthur, whose quick backhander went past Osgood at 11:58. Vanek made it 5-1 and sent Osgood to the bench in favor of Jimmy Howard 48 seconds later when he stole a pass and fed Roy, then went to the net and cashed in the rebound after Osgood made a fine save on Roy.
Miller capped a near-perfect period for the Sabres by stopping Filppula on a penalty shot at 17:47. Miller got Filppula to make the first move, then got his blocker up to stop a backhander.
That was one of only four shots by the Wings in the period, while the Sabres had 18.
Buffalo's domination continued in the third period. Paul Gaustad got his first of the season at 6:28 by going to the front of the net and jamming Kaleta's feed from the right corner past Howard.
"They were just better than us right from the start," Babcock said. "They were playing exactly the way we like to play. They had a good five-man unit up and down the ice and tight d-zone coverage. All the things we like to do, they did better than us."
Despite the big margin of victory and his team's fast start, Ruff wants to make sure his team doesn't get ahead of itself.
"We're not going to get too high over this," he said. "If we stick to it, we'll get chances. But we want to play strong enough that we can also win 2-1 or 3-2."
-- John Kreiser, NHL.com
Material from team media was used in this report
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