BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - Tyler Myers had a goal and assist, and Ryan Miller made 40 saves to lift the Buffalo Sabres to a 4-1 win over the Atlanta Thrashers on Wednesday night in front of new Sabres owner Terry Pegula.
Paul Gaustad, Jason Pominville, and Tyler Ennis also scored for the Sabres (28-25-6), who snapped a three-game losing streak to win the fourth game of a season-long six-game homestand.
The Sabres and Thrashers came in tied for ninth place in the Eastern Conference with 60 points. With the win, Buffalo moved within three points of idle Carolina for the eighth and final playoff spot with two games in hand. ...more.
In Terry Pegula’s first game as owner of the Buffalo Sabres, his new team was able to welcome him with a victory, and it was Paul Gaustad’s goal that helped spur the win. With time winding down in the second period, it appeared the Sabres and Thrashers would go to the dressing rooms tied at one goal apiece heading into the third, but Gaustad was able to break that tie and open the floodgates enough to give the Sabres a comfortable lead. Gaustad sprinted down the right wing and cut to the slot where he fired a wrist shot. Thrashers goalie Ondrej Pavelec made the initial save but kicked the rebound back out to Gaustad, who slapped it into the open net with 1:08 remaining in the period. Jason Pominville would score 30 seconds later to give Buffalo a 3-1 lead at the intermission, then Tyler Ennis tallied just over a minute into the third period for a 4-1 Sabres advantage.
continued his stellar play of late and was finally rewarded with a victory. Miller faced 41 Atlanta shots and recorded a season-high 40 saves to earn his first win since Feb. 10. Over the last four games, Miller has allowed two or fewer goals in each contest to notch a 1.78 goals against average and a .947 save percentage in that span. Tonight’s win was Miller’s 25th of the season.
- Prior to the game, Terry Pegula was introduced to the fans on the ice as all three members of the “French Connection” line – Gilbert Perreault, Rene Robert and Rick Martin – skated out to greet him while wearing white Sabres jerseys. Pegula then dropped the ceremonial first puck between Jason Pominville
and Thrashers captain Andrew Ladd.
- Buffalo’s win snapped a three-game losing streak and a four-game home winless streak (0-3-1).
- Tyler Myers
opened the scoring in the first period with his ninth goal of the season. It was the first time the Sabres had scored in the first period since Feb. 13 against the Islanders – a span of five games.
I sensed the buzz all day long. You could just feel it. I felt nervous all day long. I was excited, but I was nervous. I wanted to make sure the team performed well tonight. I wanted to get a win. - Head Coach Lindy Ruff
- Myers added an assist and was +3 in 21:43 of ice time.
- Nathan Gerbe
, Mike Weber
, Thomas Vanek
, Jochen Hecht
and Chris Butler each had an assist.
- The Sabres finished with 39 shots on goal to record their highest total since Feb. 5 when they registered 43 shots in a win over Toronto.
- There were two fights in the second period as Paul Gaustad squared off with Mark Stuart and Cody McCormick
went at it with former Sabre Eric Boulton.
- Thomas Vanek
wore an ‘A’ on his jersey as an alternate captain tonight, joining usual alternates Jason Pominville
and Paul Gaustad. Lindy Ruff said following the game that the three A’s would rotate between Vanek, Pominville, Gaustad and Jochen Hecht
- Defensemen Andrej Sekera
and Craig Rivet were scratched for Buffalo while center Paul Byron was reassigned to Portland (AHL) on Tuesday.
- Rivet was placed on waivers prior to the game, a move Darcy Regier addressed here
- Defenseman Brent Sopel and center Patrice Cormier were Atlanta’s scratches.
An old foe, the Ottawa Senators, will appear in Buffalo on Friday without several players the Sabres have grown accustomed to facing in recent years. Since the last meeting between the teams on Jan. 25, the Senators have traded forwards Mike Fisher, Chris Kelly and Jarkko Ruutu and goaltender Brian Elliot, who has a career record of 9-0-2 against Buffalo. The Sabres have won three of the first four meetings with Ottawa this season, including a 3-2 overtime win in the last game when Shaone Morrisonn scored the game-winner for his first goal of the season. Friday’s game will be just the second appearance of the season at HSBC Arena for Ottawa and the first since Oct. 22 when the Sens downed the Sabres by a 4-2 score. After Friday’s game, which marks the fifth game of Buffalo’s current six-game homestand, the teams will face off just once more this year when Ottawa visits Buffalo on Mar. 13.