NHL Game Summary - Atlanta at Buffalo
(Saturday, March 19th)
Final Score: Buffalo 8, Atlanta 2
Buffalo, NY (Sports Network) - Mark Mancari scored his first goal of the season and added two assists, as the Buffalo Sabres unloaded an 8-2 thrashing on Atlanta in a battle of Eastern Conference playoff contenders.
Rob Niedermayer lit the lamp twice, while Tim Connolly, Jason Pominville and Nathan Gerbe all added a goal and an assist for the Sabres, who now have 78 points and sit alone in the eighth and final playoff spot in the East.
Brad Boyes and Tyler Ennis also scored for Buffalo, which got 28 saves from Ryan Miller.
"It was probably the most energy I've felt in this building in a long time," Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff said of HSBC Arena.
Chris Thorburn and Alexander Burmistrov both tallied for the Thrashers, who trail the Sabres by six points in the standings. Ondrej Pavelec was pulled after allowing three goals on 11 shots in the first period, while Chris Mason stopped just 12-of-17 shots in relief.
The Sabres scored a mere 24 seconds into the game when Tim Connolly fed Pominville in front for his 18th goal of the season.
Thorburn answered at 8:06 off a faceoff, but Mancari's power play goal -- on a redirection of Tyler Myers' point shot -- gave Buffalo the lead for good less than four minutes later.
Niedermayer made it 3-1 with tip-in at the 15:09 mark.
Burmistrov cut into the deficit 4:44 into the second frame, but Gerbe and Ennis scored less than two minutes apart for a three-goal cushion.
Gerbe stuffed one in at 11:11, and Ennis beat Mason on a breakaway 1:50 later to provide a 5-1 cushion after 40 minutes.
Boyes put in a backhander on the power play 3:27 into the third period, and Niedermayer and Connolly scored in the final 3:08 to account for the final margin.
"They out-hustled us when it counted. They deserved to win," Thrashers winger Anthony Stewart said.
The Sabres have alternated wins and losses for the past seven games...Buffalo won the season series, 3-1, thanks to setting a new season-high for goals in one game...Atlanta, which was 4-1-1 in its previous six games, has several days off before visiting the Islanders on Thursday...The Sabres end a four- game homestand against Nashville on Sunday...Myers finished with three assists...Miller recorded his sixth straight 30-win season.
03/20 01:01:46 ET