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Adam leads Sabres to 4-2 win over Kings

by Shawn P. Roarke
BERLIN, Germany -- The culmination of a week-long trip through proved to be the sweetest moment of Buffalo's European trip.

Saturday night, just moments after taking a 4-2 victory to cop the maximum points on the season-opening weekend at the 2011 Compuware NHL Premiere, the Sabres stood on the ice celebrating with a sold-out crowd in the O2 World Arena, the fans serenading the players -- especially German defenseman Christian Ehrhoff and Austrian forward Thomas Vanek, who had two assists -- before they left the ice.

Asked if they would take the unique victory celebration home, Vanek laughed.

"Maybe that and the German beer, too," Vanek said, drawing a laugh from the German media. "I think it's something that the European players are used to with their clubs. I think for the rest of our guys, it was a pretty cool thing. I don't know. We'll have to see if we keep winning."

The Sabres showed incredible fortitude in winning for the second night in a row. The team did not even arrive in Berlin until almost 5 a.m. Saturday after a 4-1 win against Anaheim on Friday night in Helsinki, Finland.

Buffalo came out flying Saturday and scored the game's first three goals en route to victory against the Kings, who had arrived two hours earlier after a Friday night win against the New York Rangers in Stockholm, Sweden.

Winning goalie Ryan Miller, who played in Friday's game, as well, said it was the German crowd to the rescue again. Its spirit, he said, washed away Buffalo's fatigue.

"I thought the crowd was great tonight and we have had great support while we have been over here," said Miller, who made 31 saves. "We had Christian and Thomas, who are popular players here. It was nice to have the crowd behind us. When you are tired, every little bit of energy helps. At that point, it was a huge boost."

Rookie Luke Adam certainly fed off the atmosphere as he scored the game's first two goals. Vanek, his linemate, assisted on both goals after putting up a three-point night in Helsinki in Friday's 4-1 victory.

Adam, one of the last players to make the Buffalo roster, scored his first goal just 2:40 into the period, snapping home a one-timer after a pass from Jason Pominville. It was Vanek's work along the end boards, though, that made the play possible. Adam's second goal came just 2:20 later, on his next shift, when he swept home the rebound of a Vanek shot.

"For the crowd to be on our side chanting like that is pretty neat," Luke said. "It's pretty neat that this is my first two-goal night in the NHL. Both Thomas and Jason, they did a great job of causing both those turnovers that gave me the puck. I can't say enough about the good things they did and I was lucky enough to get those two goals."

Paul Gaustad and Drew Stafford scored Buffalo's other goals as backup Jonathan Bernier was shelled for 4 goals in the final two periods after a strong first. Bernier, who had 22 saves, earned the start after No. 1 Jonathan Quick earned the win in Friday night's 3-2 win against the Rangers.

The Sabres also have another German on their roster, Jochen Hecht, but he missed the game with concussion-related symptoms. In fact, Hecht has not played at all on this trip, including an exhibition game on Tuesday against Adler Mannheim, his hometown club.

In a somewhat shocking move, Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff opted to go back to Miller in net, just 15 hours after landing in Berlin.

Miller replayed that confidence by being sharp early, stopping 22 of 23 shots in the first two periods. In fact, the only goals he allowed were a power-play tally by Anze Kopitar with 39 seconds remaining in the second period and a late goal by the Slovenian star, who has 3 goals in the two European games.
Kopitar said fatigue was not an issue for the Kings, rather it was a matter of poor execution at the most inopportune of times.

"I wouldn't say fatigue," Kopitar told "It is pretty common that we do play a back to back either way. Maybe the travel was a little different than in the U.S. But, it is what it is. You have to play through it. We came out a little slow tonight and it probably cost us the game."

Kopitar's first goal came with Drew Stafford in the box for tripping. The Kings moved the puck efficiently around the perimeter -- especially after Gaustad lost his stick -- until Kopitar got the puck in the high slot and ripped it home over the shoulder of a screened Miller.

Drew Doughty and Jack Johnson, who scored the overtime game-winner Friday night against the Rangers, earned the assists on the goal, which was Kopitar's second in as many games.

It is also the second game in a row that the Kings have scored on the power play, which was a point of emphasis this preseason. Johnson's game-winner Friday came on a 4-on-3 man advantage.

Stafford restored the three-goal lead less than four minutes into the third.

With Kevin Westgarth in the box for an offensive-zone cross-checking penalty, Stafford pounced on a rebound and swept it past Bernier for his first goal of the season.

Nathan Gerbe and Derek Roy earned assists on the goal. For Gerbe, it was his second point of the night.
The goal was the first power-play tally Los Angeles has allowed in these first two games.

When it was over, the Sabres wanted to savor the moment, savor the German fans chanting the names of Ehrhoff and Vanek.

"It was a good feeling to be cheered like that," Ehrhoff said.

In fact, it was the perfect ending to a perfect trip for the Sabres.
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