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by Rob Crean / Buffalo Sabres

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) -Ryan Miller made 19 saves for his first shutout of the season and 18th overall, and Drew Stafford had a goal and an assist in his return from an extended absence to lead the Buffalo Sabres to a rare victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets, 5-0 on Friday night.

The Sabres won for just the third time in their 11 games against the Blue Jackets.

It was Stafford's first game after missing the past 11 because of a shoulder injury. He left briefly with 12 minutes left in the third period after being slammed into the boards by Columbus defenseman Jared Boll, but was able to come back. ...more.

Drew Stafford played his first game since Nov. 5 and scored his fifth goal of the season, courtesy of a highlight-reel pass by Derek Roy.  With Buffalo on a power play, Thomas Vanek took the puck in the high slot and fed a short pass to Derek Roy.  Roy then found Stafford moving toward the net at the base of the left face-off circle with a no-look, behind-the-back pass to the winger.  Stafford one-timed the pass high over the shoulder of Blue Jackets goalie Mathieu Garon for his second point of the evening.

Stafford’s return from an 11-game injury absence was a productive one as he finished with a goal and an assist, both of which came on the power play.  He picked up an assist on Jason Pominville’s first period goal, then scored during the second period.  Playing primarily on a newly-formed line with Pominville and Luke Adam, Stafford registered 15:39 of ice time and three shots on goal, including a breakaway chance in the third period.  His two-point night was his second multi-point game of the season.  Stafford has now recorded 10 points (5-5-10) in 15 games this year.
(Tonight) might be as good a game as we’ve played in our building, emotion-wise, handling the puck, special teams. I thought the penalty killing was fabulous, the power play did a real nice job. It was the complete package. - Head Coach Lindy Ruff

- Ryan Miller stopped all 19 shots he faced to record his first shutout of the season and the 18th of his career.  After facing five shots in the first period, Miller stopped seven shots in both the second and third periods.  In his last three games, the reigning Vezina Trophy winner has turned aside 84 of 88 shots for a .955 save percentage.

- For the third time in their last five home games, the Sabres scored multiple power play goals by netting a season-high three goals in six opportunities with the man advantage.

- The five goals scored by the Sabres tonight were the most they have scored in a home game this year.

- Thomas Vanek and Tyler Ennis each recorded three-point games with a goal and two assists apiece.  
- The Sabres registered 63 penalty minutes, giving them their highest one-game total since Oct. 13, 2008 when they were whistled for 71 penalty minutes against the Islanders.

- Jason Pominville’s goal was his second of the season and first since Nov. 10.  

- Shaone Morrisson assisted on Ennis’ goal to log his first point since Opening Night at Ottawa.

- Columbus appeared to score a goal at 5:59 of the second period, but it was waved off by the officials, who ruled that the puck was knocked in by a high-stick.  At 11:08 of the same period, the Blue Jackets had a second goal disallowed because of a goaltender interference penalty on Ethan Moreau.

-  Tim Connolly missed his fourth straight game with a groin injury while Craig Rivet and Chris Butler were scratched.  Connolly participated in today’s morning skate with his teammates, but said afterward that he was still experiencing soreness and did not have a timetable for his return to the lineup

- Defenseman Marc Methot and forwards Andrew Murray and Nikita Filatov were scratched for Columbus.

The Sabres get right back to work Saturday night when they make their first appearance in Ottawa since Oct. 8 when they opened the season with a 2-1 win over the Senators.  Derek Roy scored both Buffalo goals to key the victory.  The teams met for a second time on Oct. 22 in Buffalo, where the Senators notched a 4-2 win.  Once again, both Buffalo goals were scored by the same player as Tim Connolly netted a pair.  Connolly’s effort was topped by Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson, who scored a hat trick to reach 1,000 points for his NHL career. Saturday’s game will be the third of six meetings on the season between the Northeast Division rivals.

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