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Vanek gets three points, Sabres stay perfect with win over Canucks

NHL.com @NHL

BUFFALO, N.Y. - Thomas Vanek scored his NHL-leading sixth goal and added two assists, and Ales Kotalik scored twice in the Buffalo Sabres' 5-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Friday night.

Jaroslav Spacek had a goal and assist, and Clarke MacArthur also scored for the unbeaten Sabres, who won their fourth straight to start the season. It's the third time in franchise history Buffalo has opened with four wins, and second time in the last three years.

Ryan Miller finished with 23 saves for the Sabres, which came in having allowed a league-low three goals.

Ryan Kesler and Steve Bernier scored for the Canucks, who beat defending Stanley Cup champion Detroit in overtime on Thursday.

Curtis Sanford had 26 saves for Vancouver in his first start of the season in place of Roberto Luongo. The Canucks' captain got the night off after allowing 12 goals in his last three starts.

Buffalo put this one away early, scoring three straight goals in a 12-minute span in the opening period. Spacek started the blitz with a power-play goal just a minute in, and MacArthur made it 2-0 with Buffalo up a man at 8:30.

Kotalik increased the advantage to 3-0 with just under seven minutes to go in the first when his wrist shot from the high slot squirted through Sanford's pads.

Kesler closed the gap with his third of the year just 2 minutes into the second period, but Vanek lifted a backhand over Sanford's shoulder from in tight midway through the second to restore Buffalo's three-goal lead.

Vanek has scored in each of the Sabres' first four games this season. He didn't get his sixth goal last season until the 21st game.

Bernier made it 4-2 early in the third period, and Kotalik capped the scoring with 5:49 left in the third with his fourth of the season.

Notes: Both teams entered the league in the 1970 expansion class. ... This was the first meeting between the clubs since Buffalo won 4-3 in a shootout in January 2007. ... The Sabres killed off all three Vancouver power plays to go 18-for-18 on the penalty kill this season. They came in as one of only four teams that have not allowed a power-play goal. ... Buffalo had not surrendered a second-period goal this year until Kesler's tally. ... Bernier was acquired in a trade with the Sabres this summer. ... Eight of Spacek's last 10 goals dating back to last season have come on the power play.

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