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Offensive Explosion

by Staff Writer / Buffalo Sabres
The Sabres forwards have gone from one extreme to another in the span of three days. In Buffalo's 2-1 loss to Phoenix on Thursday, Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff didn't like his offense's play in the least. On Saturday, Ruff couldn't have been more pleased, as six different Sabres scored in a 10-1 rout over the Los Angeles Kings at HSBC Arena.

"Pretty well every one (of the forwards) chipped in," said Ruff, whose team scored seven even-strength goals. "It was a great effort from top to bottom. The forward lines did a lot of work down low, controlled play, cycled the puck and they got rewarded for it."

Jochen Hecht and Jason Pominville each notched their first career hat trick, as the duo became the first two Sabres to net three goals in the same game since New Year's Eve 2003. That night, Maxim Afinogenov and Miroslav Satan accomplished the feat.

"Games like this don't happen very often, so I have to take full advantage," joked Pominville. "Our success came just trying to keep things simple and put pucks on net."

The injured Taylor Pyatt is the only other Sabre to notch a hat trick this season.

"We had been struggling on five-on-five lately and we really wanted to make sure we came out good," said Hecht. "It's nice to get the hat trick after six or seven years in the league."

Hecht and Chris Drury each tied career highs with four points apiece, becoming the first Sabres to record four points in a game since Hecht and Satan against Toronto on March 14, 2004. Drury finished with a goal and three assists.

"We came out strong in the game and got the jump on them right off the bat," said Ruff, whose team scored seven even-strength goals.

"We worked on five-on-five in practice and wanted to make sure we played a good, solid game the first minute," said Hecht. "It was a big night for everybody on the team."

So much so that the entire team came out onto the ice as the game's first star.

"It was a good team effort, everybody played hard and everybody deserved the first star," said Hecht.

Jay McKee opened the flood gates for Buffalo a little more than a minute into the game, receiving a one-timed pass from Mike Grier and blasting a slapshot between Kings goaltender Mathieu Garon's legs. The goal was McKee's first in 24 games.

Just 13 seconds later, Grier found Drury in the slot for an easy chip by the Sabres co-captain and his 16th goal of the season.

Buffalo continued the onslaught as Ales Kotalik jammed a loose puck in front of the net past a sprawling Garon to increase Buffalo's lead to three.

Kotalik recorded his second point of the game at 10:46 of the first when he found Hecht below the right faceoff dot for a 15-foot wristshot to the short side. Kotalik would finish with a goal and two assists.

Hecht recorded his second goal of the game after slapping Tim Connolly's rebound over the left blocker of Kings rookie goaltender Adam Hauser, who made his first NHL appearance after replacing Garon.

The Sabres five-goals in the first period was the most the team had scored in one period all season.

On an odd-man rush, Jeff Cowan snapped a wristshot high on Ryan Miller's glove side that the rookie netminder got a piece of but couldn't control. The goal was the only time Los Angeles would beat the rookie as Miller stopped 32 of 33 shots.

Hecht notched his third goal six minutes into the second. Stationed on the right wing of the power-play, he snapped his own rebound into the top of the net to extend Buffalo lead to six.

Pominville extended Buffalo's lead to nine with his natural hat trick.

The Repentigny, Quebec native's first of the night came after redirecting Connolly's pass from the left wing over Hauser's glove for Buffalo's second power-play goal.

Pominville's second was courtesy of some great anticipation on the penalty kill. Covering the right point with defenseman Dmitri Kalinin in the penalty box for delay of game, Pominville intercepted a crossing pass at the blueline and snapped a wristshot five-hole for his first career shorthanded goal.

The rookie completed the hat trick with a one-timer from the slot.

Much like the dual hat trick game on December 31, 2003 when then rookie Andrew Peters scored his career goal, a pair of Sabre rookies combined for the final score of the contest.

On a two-on-none rush, Jiri Novotny unselfishly feeds Daniel Paille with a pass across the crease for an easy redirect and his first NHL goal. The primary assist on the play is Novotny's first career NHL point. Grier gets the secondary assist for his third point of the night.
Scoresheet | Super Stats | Faceoff Comp | Play By Play | Shift Chart

Period 1
1-0 (1:06): Jay McKee's slapshot from 20-feet out finds a seam between Mathieu Garon's legs and trickles over the goal line. The goal is McKee's third of the season. Mike Grier one-timed Chris Drury's pass from the right wing to the wide-open McKee.

2-0 (1:19): Just 13 seconds later, Mike Grier feeds Chris Drury in the slot for an easy chip shot over Mathieu Garon to extend Buffalo's lead to a pair. The goal is Drury's 16th of the season. Grier records his second assist of the game, while Daniel Paille gets his first.

3-0 (4:33): Ales Kotalik jams a loose puck past Garon, who was on his back and sprawling with his glove, into the net for his 18th goal of the season. Tim Connolly and Jochen Hecht record the assists. Garon is replaced by Adam Hauser. The game marks Hauser's first NHL appearance.

4-0 (10:46): Skating along the goal line, Ales Kotalik finds Jochen Hecht below the right faceoff dot. Hecht snaps a wristshot that beats Garon on the short side. Kotalik gets the only helper. This is the third time during the season that Buffalo has scored four goals in a period.

5-0 (17:06): Jochen Hecht slaps in Tim Connolly's rebound over Hauser's left blocker for his second consecutive goal of the game and 11th of the season. Connolly and Chris Drury get the helpers. Five goals in one period is the most this seaosn for Buffalo.

5-1 (18:26): On an odd-man rush, Jeff Cowan receives a pass from Dustin Brown and snaps a wristshot high on Miller's glove side. The rookie netminder got a piece of the offering but the puck skipped off his arm into the net. The goal is Cowan's sixth of the seaosn. Mike Weaver gets the secondary assist.

Period 2

6-1 (6:13): Jochen Hecht completes the hattrick after firing his own rebound over Hauser for a five-goal Sabres lead. The goal is Hecht's third of the game, 12th of the season and fourth point of the game. Teppo Numminen and Ales Kotalik each record assists on the power-play marker.

7-1 (11:16): Jason Pominville scores his fifth power-play goal of the season after redirecting Tim Connolly's pass from the left wing over Hauser's glove. The goal is Pominville's sixth of the season. Connolly and Drury record the assists.

8-1 (19:20): With some great anticipation, Jason Pominville intercepts a crossing pass at the blue line and snaps a wristshot between the legs of Hauser on the ensuing breakaway. The goal is his seventh of the season and a career-high second of the night.

Period 3
9-1 (14:48): Jason Pominville completes his first career hattrick (a natural hattrick) with a one-timer from the slot on the power play. The goal is his eighth of the season. Maxim Afinogenov and Derek Roy get the assists.

10-1 (15:36): Daniel Paille and Jiri Novotny combine for a pair of firsts for the two rookies. On a two-on-none rush, Novotny feeds Paille for an easy redirect and his first NHL goal. The assist is Novotny's first career NHL point. Mike Grier gets the secondary helper.
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