12th August 15:32
Thrashers streaked past Sabres 7-4
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Patrik Stefan scored on a penalty shot, and Randy
Robitaille and Ilya Kovalchuk each had a goal and two assists in the
Atlanta Thrashers' 7-4 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday
Shawn McEachern added three assists for Atlanta, which snapped a three-
game winless streak and moved into first place in the Southeast Division.
Atlanta turned a two-goal deficit after the first period into a 4-3 lead
with three consecutive goals by Jean-Pierre Vigier, Ivan Majesky and
Robitaille in a 3:23 span late in the second period.
Vigier and Majesky's goals came just 24 seconds apart.
Stefan scored on a penalty shot, Yannick Tremblay had a power-play goal
and Serge Aubin scored in the third period for the Thrashers.
Daniel Briere capped the scoring for the Sabres with a goal at 14:31 of
the third period.
The four goals were the most allowed this season by Pasi Nurminen, who
made 28 saves.
Kovalchuk opened the scoring with his league-leading 12th goal at the
7:34 mark of the first with a quick wrister that beat Martin Biron.
Kovalchuk has scored in eight of the Thrashers' 13 games and has
registered a point in all but two games. It was also the sixth time this
season he recorded a multiple-point game. He also has 20 points to lead
But the Sabres, 4-2-1 over their last seven games, took a 3-1 lead on
first-period goals by Maxim Afinogenov, J.P. Dumont and Curtis Brown.
The Thrashers played their first game without center Marc Savard, who
underwent surgery to repair torn ligaments in his left ankle Tuesday.
He's expected to miss eight to 10 weeks.
Atlanta broke out of a scoring slump that saw them score just 10 goals in
their last five games. It was the second time this season that they
scored seven goals.
Notes: Buffalo D Andy Delmore was scratched for the third consecutive
game. Delmore has no points in 10 games. Delmore led NHL defenseman last
season with 14 power-play goals. ... Atlanta began a three-game road trip
on Wednesday. They will play in Columbus on Friday and at the New York
Islanders on Saturday. ... Atlanta hasn't made a move to replace Savard
on the 23-man roster. ... Thrashers LW Simon Gamache earned his first NHL
point on Majesky's goal.
Thrashers score six straight goals to beat Sabres
By JOHN MANASSO
Atlanta Journal-Constitution Staff Writer
Buffalo, N.Y. -- Compared to what the Thrashers have been through this
season, general manager Don Waddell called No. 1 center Marc Savard's
ankle injury "a little bump in the road."
In the first game of Savard's eight-to-10-week absence, the Thrashers
played true to Waddell's words, striking for six consecutive goals in a
7-4 win over the Sabres before 10,584 at HSBC Arena. The seven goals
matched the Thrashers' best offensive output this season.
Seemingly headed for a defeat as a result of a sloppy defensive play, the
Thrashers scored three goals in the final 4:28 of the second period for a
4-3 lead at the second intermission.
It was the fourth time this season the Thrashers rallied from a two-goal
deficit to earn points.
"Sometimes it's a crazy game," Thrashers coach Bob Hartley said.
"Certainly at 3-1 it didn't look good for us. We put some pucks at the
net, got a couple of breaks, but I feel any point in the game we worked
hard in the game to generate those breaks.
"We were facing a good challenge, especially losing Savard a couple of
days ago, we talked about increasing responsibility for some of our guys
and they stepped up pretty well."
Principally, those players were centers Randy Robitaille and Patrik
Stefan. Robitaille had a goal and two assists while centering a newly
constituted line with Shawn McEachern (three assists) and Ilya Kovalchuk
(one goal, two assists) that had an explosive debut.
Stefan led the team's centers in ice time with 19:13, was a game-high
plus-2 and scored a key short-handed goal on a penalty shot.
"That was a huge goal," Hartley said. "It's good to see him get rewards.
It was a great play on his part to get the penalty shot breakaway and
then it was a good shot. He showed lots of poise."
The turning point in the game came when J.P. Vigier stuffed home a
rebound with 4:28 left in the second. Then Ivan Majesky, who had made
several turnovers and admitted he has to play better defensively, beat
Buffalo goalie Martin Biron with a wrist shot between the pads.
Robitaille put the Thrashers ahead 24 seconds later.
"Any time you score from where Majesky did, a goaltender always wants to
have those ones back," Robitaille said. "You've got to keep the pressure
on and try to get some shots."
The Thrashers scored seven goals on 21 shots against Biron, who was
pulled with 6:24 left in the game. They are 8-3 all-time against him.
1 2 3 Final
Atlanta 1 3 3 7
Buffalo 2 1 1 4
First Period - 1, Atlanta, Kovalchuk 12 (Robitaille, McEachern), 7:34.
2, Buffalo, Afinogenov 1 (Mair, Pyatt), 9:29. 3, Buffalo, Dumont 3
(Pyatt, Mair), 17:58. Penalties - Lessard, ATL, major (fighting), 8:28;
Peters, BUF, major (fighting), 8:28.
Second Period - 4, Buffalo, Brown 2 (Satan), 4:21, (pp). 5, Atlanta,
Vigier 2 (Aubin, Sutton), 15:31. 6, Atlanta, Majesky 1 (Cowan, Gamache),
18:31. 7, Atlanta, Robitaille 2 (McEachern, Kovalchuk), 18:55. Penalties
- Petrovicky, ATL (cross checking), 3:00; McKee, BUF (interference),
9:00; Brown, BUF (hooking), 10:44; Vigier, ATL (hooking), 12:53.
Third Period - 8, Atlanta, Tremblay 1 (Robitaille, McEachern), 5:41,
(pp). 9, Atlanta, Stefan 2, 10:50, (ps). 10, Atlanta, Aubin 2
(Tremblay, Kovalchuk), 12:58. 11, Buffalo, Briere 2 (Pyatt, Drury),
14:31. Penalties - Brown, BUF (hooking), 5:17; Mair, BUF (goalie
interference), 6:22; Vigier, ATL (high sticking), 10:00.
Shots On Goal - Atlanta 7-10-5=22. Buffalo 9-12-11=32.
Power-Play Conversions - Atlanta 1-4. Buffalo 1-3.
Goaltenders - Atlanta, Nurminen (6-3-3);
Goaltenders - Buffalo, Biron (4-3-1), Noronen (13:36 of 3rd).
Attendance - 10,584.
Referees - Stephane Auger, Tim Peel.
Linesmen - Tony Sericolo, Mark Shewchyk.