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by Staff Writer / Buffalo Sabres
Ryan Miller (photo: Bill Wippert)
No one could have predicted the Buffalo Sabres would snap a 10-game winless streak by scoring a goal against the Southeast Division leaders for every game they tied or lost.  It seemed  incomprehensible that an offense that had a problem finishing would win 10-1 over the Atlanta Thrashers on Saturday night.

Unthinkable that is unless you're Sabres netminder Ryan Miller.

Audio: Derek Roy Post-Game
Drew Stafford Post-Game
Ryan Miller Post-Game
Lindy Ruff Post-Game
Photo: Thrashers 1, Sabres 10

"It's funny, I was talking about this at lunch with Tim Connolly and Max Afinogenov," laughed Miller.  "It was just the three of us sitting there and I got talking about this stretch.  I just said, 'You know, it's just going to have to be one of those games where everybody is clicking and everything is going so that we win by some ridiculous [margin].'   I think I actually said 7-1. 

"Even my lunch-time prediction got blown away by these guys."

The Sabres couldn't have gotten a more complete effort as 13 players registered points and the team scored three goals in each period for the first time since Feb. 24, 1993 to run away with the rout.

It was the first time the Sabres hit double digits Jan. 14, 2006 against Los Angeles. 

"It's kind of fitting," said Miller.  "A 10-game skid ... 10 goals.  The world works in mysterious ways, especially when it comes to your time at the rink."

"We're happy to snap it, but more importantly, is what we do with it."

What they will need to do is make up ground for a playoff spot as the slide had left them in 12th place in the Eastern Conference.  That journey begins tomorrow when the Sabres will bus up the QEW to face the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Air Canada Centre.  Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.


Head coach Lindy Ruff thought Derek Roy's return to the lineup would have a positive effect on the team.  Ruff's sentiment ended up the understatement of the season so far.

Reunited with wingers Drew Stafford and Thomas Vanek, Roy sparked the Sabres to life.  His line accounted for 13 points (7+5) and a combined plus-10 rating.

Roy was the game's second star with three goals and an assist, while Stafford for first with his first career hattrick and two assists.

"That's a line, when we were going well, was going well for us," said Ruff.  "I really think that Derek makes that line go."


The added practice for the Sabres power-play unit over the past week, coupled with Roy's return, got the desired results.  The Sabres scored multiple goals on the PP for the first time since Dec. 22 at Philadelphia, the team's last victory.  Buffalo ended up converting on three of nine chances.

Stafford's first of the night five minutes into the opening frame snapped a five-game power-play drought that saw Buffalo's two units fail to convert on 17 consecutive opportunities.


A lot of players scored for the Sabres and a lot of individual stats lines were reconciled in the win.

Dmitri Kalinin recorded his first points since the season opener on Oct. 5 with a pair of assists.  A knee injury took the blueliner out of 23 games earlier in the season, so his scoreless skid was officially tallied at 20 games.

Stafford's aforementioned power-play goal broke an eight-game goalless streak.

Thomas Vanek had just a goal in his last 10 games.  That was increased to a pair when he scored Buffalo's second PP goal with just 45 seconds remaining in the second.


The only downside to the Sabres exuberant victory was the possible loss of winger Mike Ryan, who was helped from the ice after being struck in the face by the butt end of Colin Stuart's stick.  The pair became entangled near the Atlanta bench before Ryan fell to the ice clutching his face.

"Mike took several stitches and there seems to be a problem with his eye," said Ruff.  "There is a chance that he could miss some time. 

"He's going to see an eye doctor [Saturday].  If it's ok, he'll be allowed to come up [to Toronto]."
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