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NHL Game Summary - Vancouver at Buffalo

(Friday, October 17th)

Final Score: Buffalo 5, Vancouver 2

Buffalo, NY (Sports Network) - Thomas Vanek had a goal and a pair of assists, and Ales Kotalik scored twice to help the Buffalo Sabres stay unbeaten on the young season with a 5-2 thumping of Vancouver.

Ryan Miller collected the win with 23 saves, while Jaroslav Spacek and Clarke MacArthur each recorded power-play goals for Buffalo, which has won its first four games to remain the only team in the Eastern Conference without a loss.

"We can stay under the radar all year," Vanek said. "This is a good team offensively, we know we can score goals. We've made a huge commitment to play good defensive hockey, and it's paying off for us right now."

Ryan Kesler and Steve Bernier each scored for Vancouver, which has dropped two of three. Goalie Roberto Luongo was given the night off, and backup Curtis Sanford posted a lackluster performance in his absence, allowing five goals on 31 shots.

"We didn't play that bad," Bernier said. "They scored on their chances and we took too many penalties."

The Canucks dug themselves a hole with costly penalties in the opening period. Willie Mitchell was called for a delay-of-game for shooting the puck into the seats 70 seconds in, and Spacek's one-timer from the right-point six ticks later gave the Sabres a quick lead they would not relinquish.

MacArthur added another power play goal at the 8:30 mark of the second on a backhanded rebound in front of the net.

Sanford let a relatively easy shot slip past less than five minutes later, as Kotalik's wrister somehow trickled through his pads to cap a dominant first period for the hosts.

"We wanted to get off to a quick start," Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff said. "I think our speed created a couple of opportunities, which lead to penalties. Then the power play did a nice job."

Kesler's quick snap-shot over Miller's left shoulder cut into the 3-0 deficit two minutes into the second, but Vanek regained the three-goal edge with a gritty goal midway through the period.

Sanford stuffed Vanek's first attempt on the doorstep, but the fifth-year player recorded his sixth goal of the season with a second-chance rebound.

The score remained 4-1 through 40 minutes, and Bernier's goal off a pass from Henrik Sedin behind the net five minutes into the third made it a two-goal game.

But Vanek out-hustled a Canucks defenseman for a loose puck later in the third, and, after being hooked from behind, found a trailing Kotalik in front for the clincher with 5:49 to play.

"We knew they had a fast team," Sanford said. "It's no secret, the past four or five years they've been one of the speediest teams in the league. They have a lot of gifted players up front, solid defense and a solid goalie. It's nothing that we shouldn't have expected. We have to learn from it again."

Game Notes

Buffalo started the 2006-07 campaign with a franchise-high 10 straight wins... This was the first matchup between the clubs since the Sabres registered a 4-3 triumph in a shootout on January 19, 2007...Dating back to last season, Vanek has scored 14 goals in 14 games...After denying three Vancouver power plays, Buffalo is a perfect 18-for-18 on the penalty kill this season.

10/17 23:14:08 ET

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