31st December 10:03
Thrashers Crushed in Buffalo
Playoff-seeking Sabres crush Thrashers
By JOHN MANASSO
Atlanta Journal-Constitution Staff Writer
Published on: 2/16/04
Buffalo, N.Y. -- It was almost as if Friday's win over Vancouver never
Hoping to seize momentum after ending a 10-game winless streak, the
Thrashers fumbled the chance on Monday, reverting to recent form with
horrendous defensive gaffes. The result: The surging Sabres steamrolled
them 7-2 -- the most goals the Thrashers have allowed this season.
Miroslav Satan scored four times for Buffalo. The Sabres have 21 goals in
their last three games -- the most goals scored in the NHL in a three-
game span since March 1996. Some of Satan's goals came at times when the
Thrashers were in complete disarray in front of their goal.
"We definitely didn't take care of our own end," said Byron Dafoe, who
relieved Pasi Nurminen in goal in the second period. "We had a very good
effort in Vancouver and I think we were all hoping we could come out
better. We kind of snapped out of the defensive slump we were in, but it
seemed like we picked up right where we were before Vancouver."
The Thrashers and Sabres are going in opposite directions. Buffalo won
for the ninth time in 11 games, moving to just four points out of a
playoff berth. After playing mediocre hockey for the season's first two
months, they are 15-8-3 in their last 26 games.
Meanwhile, the Thrashers lost for the ninth time in 11 games and after a
fantastic start have played like one of the league's worst teams, going
3-16-3-1 in their last 22. In losing seven of their last eight, they have
allowed 37 goals, an average of 4.6 per game.
Down 7-1 with almost 10 minutes left, the game disintegrated into
brawling much like last Wednesday's 5-1 loss to Edmonton. The Thrashers
and Sabres combined for 118 penalty minutes, including 10 fighting
"It's frustrating," said defenseman Andy Sutton, whose knuckles were
bleeding after the game after being involved in two fights. "We seem to
be a Jekyll-and-Hyde team at times.
"Sometimes there's nothing else to do at the end of a game except go out
and try to get some life for tomorrow."
This one began to unravel with less than six minutes left in the first
period. With Ronald Petrovicky in the penalty box, Satan -- who had one
goal in nine games entering Monday -- slapping at a quick pass from just
inside the blue line that hit off a Thrasher and went past Nurminen.
Daniel Briere made it 2-0 with 26 seconds left in the period Marc Savard
and Sutton played Briere passively, allowing him too much space and
Briere rifled a wrist shot past Nurminen.
Near the middle of the second period, Ales Kotalik connected on a rebound
which no Thrasher defender could get close enough to clear to make it 3-
0. Nurminen was replaced shortly thereafter.
"It's just a matter of reads, giving gaps and then being in the wrong
position," coach Bob Hartley said. "We have some guys that are struggling
out there. They're just in a tough situation."
1 2 3 Final
Atlanta 0 0 2 2
Buffalo 2 2 3 7
First Period - 1, Buffalo, Satan 19 (Zhitnik, Briere), 14:16, (pp). 2,
Buffalo, Briere 20 (Tallinder), 19:34. Penalties - Stefan, ATL (kneeing),
1:52; Campbell, BUF (hooking), 4:14; Petrovicky, ATL (elbowing), 13:04;
Petrovicky, ATL (unsportsmanlike conduct), 14:16; Vigier, ATL (hooking),
17:54; Zhitnik, BUF (hooking), 18:29.
Second Period - 3, Buffalo, Kotalik 15 (Campbell, Dumont), 5:44. 4,
Buffalo, Delmore 2 (Kalinin, Afinogenov), 12:45, (pp). Penalties - Brown,
BUF (high-sticking), 0:33; Janik, BUF (holding), 6:06; Zhitnik, BUF
(interference), 9:22; Savard, ATL (high-sticking), 11:27; Lessard, ATL
(roughing), 13:29; Mair, BUF (roughing), 13:29; Satan, BUF (high-
Third Period - 5, Buffalo, Satan 20 (Campbell, Hecht), 0:53. 6,
Atlanta, Robitaille 9 (Heatley, Sutton), 1:35, (pp). 7, Buffalo, Satan
21 (Briere, Hecht), 2:08. 8, Buffalo, Satan 22, 9:17. 9, Atlanta,
Kovalchuk 30 (Savard, McEachern), 11:48, (pp). Penalties - Delmore, BUF
(holding the stick), 1:26; Sutton, ATL, major (fighting), 9:44; Mair,
BUF, major (fighting), 9:44; Lessard, ATL, major (fighting), 9:59;
Boulton, BUF, minor-major (cross-checking, fighting), 9:59; Kalinin, BUF
(hooking), 11:07; Heatley, ATL (roughing), 12:25; Campbell, BUF
(roughing), 12:25; Kovalchuk, ATL (roughing), 13:09; Exelby, ATL
(roughing), 14:00; Kloucek, ATL, minor-major (slashing, fighting), 15:19;
Drury, BUF, minor-major (cross-checking, fighting), 15:19; Majesky, ATL,
major-game misconduct (fighting), 17:58; Sutton, ATL major (fighting),
17:58; Boulton, BUF, double minor-major (elbowing, fighting), 17:58;
Janik, BUF, major-game misconduct (fighting), 17:58.
Shots On Goal - Atlanta 3-10-12=25. Buffalo 13-9-13=35.
Power-Play Conversions - Atlanta 2-11. Buffalo 2-7.
Goaltenders - Atlanta, Nurminen (18-21-5), Dafoe (5:44 of 2nd)
Goaltenders - Buffalo, Noronen (11-13-1)
Attendance - 18,690.
Referees - Stephane Auger, Terry Gregson.
Linesmen - Derek Amell, Michel Cormier.