By Brian Wheeler
Three third period goals were too much for the Buffalo Sabres to overcome on Thursday night as the team's winning streak ends at two games. Nolan Baumgartner scored on the power play, Brendan Morrison converted on a rebound and Jarkko Ruutu notched an empty netter all during the final period as Buffalo falls 4-1 to the Vancouver Canucks at GM Motors Place.
"We played it pretty even for most of the game but our execution wasn't very good," said Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff, whose team entered the third tied 1-1 with the Canucks. "Our power play again struggled with retrievals and that really threw a lot of momentum off because early in the game it was all special teams."
Buffalo's lone goal did come from rookie Jason Pominville
on the power play, courtesy of a great pass by Tim Connolly.
Near the left faceoff dot, Connolly spotted Pominville cutting to the net on the far wing for a one-timer and rookie's fifth goal in four games to tie the game 1-1 four minutes later.
Buffalo power play has scored in six consecutive games but converted on just one of seven opportunities in the game.
"There have been games where the number of penalties turns it into a special teams game," said Ruff. "In those situations, the penalty kill and power play have to win it for you."
Pominville's nine goals in 24 games trails only Thomas Vanek
for the rookie scoring lead on the Sabres. Vanek has notched 12 goals in 45 games.
Connolly and Chris Drury continue to battle for the team lead with 38 point each, as the two recorded assists on the tally. Drury has 10 points in his last seven games.
"The chances were pretty even," said Ruff. "We hit a cross bar, blew a couple shots over the net, and after they scored, we dominated play in their end but didn't get a lot of quality chances.
"You have to give them credit. They didn't make a lot of mistakes."
Rookie goaltender Ryan Miller
, who is 3-2 in his last five starts, made 23 saves in the loss for the Sabres.
Alexandre Burrows opened the scoring midway through the second period while Buffalo was on the power play. With Daniel Sedin in the penalty box for tripping, Burrows broke on an odd-man rush and beat Miller after collecting his third rebound.
Miller made the initial save on Burrows wristshot from about 15 feet out and dove back to the net to stuff the left wing's second attempt with his stick before allowing the Sabres eighth shorthanded goal of the season.
"We had a chance to knock Burrows down but we swung right by him," said Ruff. "To make plays like that, it's disappointing."
Vancouver took the lead four minutes into the third after Henrik Sedin found Baumgartner for a one-timer from the point that slips under Miller's right pad. The power-play goal was the first the Sabres penalty kill had allowed in their opponent's last 31 opportunities.
Just seconds after a faceoff in Buffalo's zone, Morrison collected a rebound off Steve McCarthy's slapshot from the left wing to give Vancouver a two-goal lead with seven minutes remaining in regulation.
Ruutu added an empty net goal with just 55 seconds remaining in regulation after Canucks goaltender Alexander Auld redirected a shot with his blocker to the left wing.
------------------------------ SCORING REPORTS
| Super Stats
| Faceoff Comp
| Play By Play
| Shift Chart GAME BLOG:
No Scoring Period 2
0-1 (11:29): A shorthanded goal by Alexandre Burrows gives Vancouver the lead with just eight minutes remaining in the second. Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller
stuffed Burrows twice - the second time sprawling back to the net - before the left wing converted on his third attempt. Ryan Kesler records the only assist.
1-1 (15:56): Near the left faceoff dot, Tim Connolly spots Jason Pominville
cutting to the net on the far wing for a one-timer and Pominville's fifth goal in four games. The marker is also the rookie's ninth this season. Connolly and Chris Drury get the helpers.
1-2 (4:07): Vancouver takes the lead on the power play after Henrik Sedin found Nolan Baumgartner for a one-timer from the point that slips under the right pad of Miller. The goal is Baumgartner's fourth of the season. Sedin and Daniel Sedin register the assists.
1-3 (12:53): Just seconds after a faceoff in Buffalo zone, Brendan Morrison collects a rebound off Steve McCarthy's slapshot from the left wing to give Vancouver a two-goal lead with seven minutes remaining in regulation. The goal is Morrison's 11th of the season. McCarthy and Markus Naslund get the helpers.
1-4 (19:11): Jarkko Ruutu added an empty net goal for his ninth of the season. Alexander Auld records the only assist
Quotes courtesy of WGR 550-AM, the official radio station of the Buffalo Sabres.