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NHL Game Summary - Atlanta at Buffalo

(Wednesday, March 1)

Final Score: Atlanta 4, Buffalo 2

Buffalo, NY (Sports Network) - Brad Larsen netted two goals to give the Atlanta Thrashers a 4-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres at HSBC Arena in the first game after the Olympic break for each team.

Vyacheslav Kozlov and Niclas Havelid each scored a goal and Marc Savard added two assists for the Thrashers, winners of three straight and four of their last five games.

Kari Lehtonen stopped 34 shots in the win for Atlanta, which stopped a four- game slide versus Buffalo.

Chris Drury and Maxim Afinogenov netted goals and Ryan Miller allowed three goals on 24 shots for the Sabres, who have lost two straight and three of their last four games.

The Thrashers got the only goal of the first period and they did so on the power play.

The Thrashers were skating with a 5-on-3 advantage and as the first penalty expired Jaroslav Modry let fly with a slap shot from the high slot. Miller made a stick save on the puck, but it bounced out to the left side of the net where Kozlov banged it in off the left post with 2:49 until the first intermission.

The Sabres had 1:37 of a 5-on-3 advantage in the opening 20 minutes, but only managed to get on shot on Lehtonen during the advantage and failed to score on all four of their power play opportunities in the period.

Atlanta opened up a 2-0 lead early in the second period. Savard had the puck along the left boards and sent a centering pass to Havelid, who was cutting into the slot. Havelid let fly with a one-timer that went through Miller's five-hole for a power-play tally at the 1:48 mark.

However, Buffalo countered with a power-play goal of its own shortly after. Jean-Pierre Dumont had the puck in the right corner and sent it across the ice to Drury at the left circle. Drury hesitated with the puck, Lehtonen went down and Drury shelved it over Lehtonen's right shoulder to make it a 2-1 game nearly three minutes later.

The Thrashers regained their two-goal advantage early in the third period. Serge Aubin won a fight for the puck at the blue line and got the disc to Larsen at the inside top of the left circle. Larsen let fly with a wrister that went through a screen and into the net just 2:46 in.

"He?s a hard nosed player," said Atlanta coach Bob Hartley about Larsen. "He plays a great up and down game. It was a great shot on the first goal and then the empty net. Penalty killing is his specialty and he got that big insurance goal."

The Sabres went on the attack to try and get some offense going and outshot Atlanta 12-7 in the final period.

Buffalo pulled its goaltender with a little over one minute remaining, but Larsen put the puck in the empty net with 36 seconds remaining to give Atlanta a 4-1 margin.

Afinogenov netted his 15th goal of the season just 14 seconds after the Atlanta goal, but it was too little, too late as Atlanta left the building with the victory.

"Execution wasn't our strong point," Sabres coach Lindy ruff said. "We made enough mistakes to lose it. We didn't finish enough plays to win the game when we had the opportunities."

Game Notes

Atlanta plays in Boston on Thursday...The Sabres host the Maple Leafs on Friday...Sabres center Daniel Briere played in his first game since December 16. He missed 24 games after having surgery for a sports hernia. He had one assist in the game...Atlanta welcomed back center Bobby Holik, who had missed the last two months after breaking his foot in a New Year's Day victory over Washington. The veteran Czech missed 18 games due to the injury...Atlanta scored on two of its six power-play chances...The Sabres went 2-for-9 on the power play.

03/02 00:02:23 ET

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