With Tim Connolly’s first goal of the season, came the Buffalo Sabres first win as they earned a 6-0 shutout against the Atlanta Thrashers Thursday night.
On a feed from defenseman Brian Campbell, Connolly one-timed the puck from the point and sniped Thrashers’ goaltender Kari Lehtonen.
“The first one is always the toughest one to get,” Connolly said. “The special teams and the power play was moving the puck around well and working as a five-man unit. When you do that good things are going to happen out there.”
The play was a 6-on-4 odd-man advantage for the Sabres, as Ryan Miller
left the ice before a delayed penalty was called with Buffalo already on the power play.
It was Connolly's 64th career goal in 393 games.
In addition to a goal, Connolly was also a vital part of the power play adding two assists on the night.
Connolly has scored 16 points in 18 career games against the Atlanta Thrashers.
“It feels good to get that first win,” Connolly said. “We know that we can be better and there are some things we need to work on… It’s definitely a step in the right direction.”
Ales Kotalik did not waste any time announcing his return to the Buffalo Sabres lineup.
After missing the first two games of the season with a knee injury, Kotalik proved he was ready to play, scoring a power play goal just three minutes into the first period.
"It’s always nice to score on any shift during the season,” Kotalik said. “I just wanted to come out strong and play my game. I got the chance on special teams and it was just a great setup from Tim Connolly. It was kind of an easy shot for me from the angle to put it in the empty net. But it feels good.”
Buffalo forward Drew Stafford
earned the first fighting major of the season when he took on Atlanta’s Ilya Kovalchuk half-way through the second period.
One fan was able to enjoy the game from a unique perspective, as Tim Mulhern won the bid for the Sabres first Ultimate Fan Experience. The package included access to the press box to listen to Rick Jeanneret and Harry Neale, a Zamboni ride before the game and admittance to Lindy Ruff’s post-game press conference.
“It was so worth it. I don’t think you can put a price tag on something like this. You really can’t,” Mulhern said. “Just to be in the presence of Mr. Jeanneret and experience things here, be treated like a VIP for the night, you just can’t buy this. This was the greatest experience of my life.”
Fans can bid on their own Ultimate Experience
on Sabres.com. All proceeds benefit the Buffalo Sabres Foundation.
The Sabres also eliminated one of the four Emcee Contest finalists, in which one fan will be named the in-game host for 10 Buffalo home games. Based on fan approval, Earl Leatherland beat out Brian Wicka to move on to the final online vote.
Tom Tran and Rob Murphy will compete at Saturday’s game against the Washington Capitals.