BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) -Tim Connolly snapped a third-period tie with a power-play goal to help lift the Buffalo Sabres to a 4-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings on Friday night.
Thomas Vanek added a goal and assist, and Patrick Kaleta and Jochen Hecht also scored for the Sabres (8-10-3), who have won five of seven after a 3-9-2 start.
Ryan Miller finished with 34 saves for Buffalo, which scored twice on the power play against a Kings penalty-killing unit that came in tied for first in the NHL. Los Angeles had allowed just seven man-advantage goals and killed 90 percent of opposition power plays. ...more.
Tim Connolly broke a 2-2 tie just over two minutes into the third period when he dove into the crease to knock in the puck and put Buffalo ahead for good. With the Sabres on a power play after Ryan Smyth went off for holding, Jason Pominville’s point shot got through traffic, and the puck ended up sitting in the blue paint behind Kings goalie Jonathan Bernier. Connolly pounced on the loose puck and gave Buffalo a 3-2 lead.
In addition to scoring the game-winning goal and adding an assist on Vanek’s tally, Connolly also won the faceoff that led directly to the Jochen Hecht goal, which gave Buffalo some insurance late in the third period. Connolly, who recorded his second multi-point game of the season, led all Sabres forwards in ice time at 17:40 and was +1. He was also a part of Buffalo’s penalty killing unit that went 5-for-5 on the night.
Our intensity wasn’t there to beat that team at the start the game, but I thought we set the tone early in the second (period), we got away from taking penalties, they started drawing penalties because we started getting a little quicker to the pucks, and it made a difference. - Head Coach Lindy Ruff
- The Sabres ran their home winning streak to three games with the victory. All three wins have come against division-leading teams (Washington, Vancouver, Los Angeles).
- The point streaks for Derek Roy and Thomas Vanek continued when Vanek deflected Roy’s slap shot from the point during a second period power play. Roy’s point streak now stands at seven games (3-7-10) while Vanek has notched at least a point in six straight outings (3-6-9).
- Buffalo scored two power play goals against Los Angeles’ top-ranked penalty killing units. The Kings entered the game tied with Montreal with a 90.1 penalty killing percentage. It marked just the second time this season that the Sabres scored more than one power play goal in a game.
- Vanek, who scored Buffalo’s second goal of the game, also added an assist on Connolly’s goal for his fifth multi-point game of the season. Jason Pominville collected two assists for his first multi-point effort of the year.
- Ryan Miller turned aside 34 shots while making his fourth consecutive start to earn his sixth win of the season.
- Buffalo’s first goal of the game was originally credited to Patrick Kaleta. After further review, the goal has been credited to Andrej Sekera, with the assists going to Nathan Gerbe and Tyler Myers.
- The first goal of the game was scored by Kings captain and Ithaca, NY native Dustin Brown, giving him six points in six career games against Buffalo.
- Defensemen Chris Butler and Mike Weber and forward Matt Ellis were healthy scratches for Buffalo while defenseman Jake Muzzin and forward Brayden Schenn were scratched for Los Angeles.
- The Kings were making their first appearance in Buffalo since Dec. 19, 2008 – a 5-0 Sabres victory.
The NHL’s leading scorer, Steven Stamkos (19 goals, 35 points), will lead the Tampa Bay Lightning into HSBC Arena Saturday night as the Sabres play the second of back-to-back home games. The high-scoring Lightning squad is coming off a wild 8-7 win over Philadelphia on Thursday that saw Stamkos register a hat trick and two assists for a career-high five points. Martin St. Louis added five assists. Last season, Buffalo won all four matchups with Tampa Bay while outscoring them 21-8 in the season series. Derek Roy led the Sabres with nine points (4-5-9) in four games against the Lightning last year. Saturday’s game is the first meeting of the season between the teams.