NHL Game Summary - Buffalo at Atlanta
(Tuesday, January 31st)
Final Score: Buffalo 5, Atlanta 2
Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) - Ales Kotalik tallied a goal and added an assist as the Buffalo Sabres defeated the Atlanta Thrashers, 5-2, at Philips Arena.
Thomas Vanek also scored for the Sabres while Jason Pominville netted his second shorthanded-goal of the season, as Buffalo has won three straight games.
Ryan Miller was solid in goal, making 35 saves in the victory.
Marian Hossa and Ronald Petrovicky tallied goals for the Thrashers, who have now lost six in a row.
Kari Lehtonen allowed five goals on 35 shots in defeat.
The Sabres took a 1-0 lead just 5:01 into the opening frame with Kotalik scoring his 20th goal of the season.
At 11:52 of the first period, Hossa found a loose puck in the slot and sent the disc past Miller on his stick side for the 1-1 tie.
Petrovicky gave the Thrashers a 2-1 edge with 20 seconds left in the opening period with his seventh goal of the season.
"We were a little careless in our own zone, giving them some good chances in the first (period)," said Buffalo head coach Lindy Ruff. "We really bounced back in the last forty minutes."
The Sabres would score the next four goals en route to victory.
Just 4:01 into the second stanza, Vanek tied the game up at 2-2. Chris Drury carried the puck into the Atlanta zone and dished the disc off to Vanek, who blasted the puck past Lehtonen from the top of the left circle.
Down a man, Buffalo grabbed a 3-2 advantage at 9:08 of the second after Pominville tapped a loose puck in the crease over Lehtonen's glove. Atlanta's Ilya Kovalchuk fumbled a puck in front of Lehtonen and Pominville was right there to capitalize off the turnover.
With 8:59 to play in the game, the Sabres took a two-goal lead on Paul Gaustad's seventh-goal of the season. Kotalik sent a shot on goal from the left boards that Lehtonen stopped, but Gaustad chipped in the rebound for a 4-2 lead.
J.P. Dumont capped the scoring with a breakaway goal with 2:40 left in the game.
"There's never an easy loss, but I thought we started the game like we wanted to start," said Atlanta head coach Bob Hartley. "Unfortunately a couple of plays cost us the game. Buffalo is very confident right now and they take advantage of basically every one of their chances."
Buffalo has now won four straight over the Thrashers, including two games this season...The Sabres improved to 17-8-1 on the road this year...Buffalo defenseman Teppo Numminen picked up his 27th assist of the year...Atlanta dropped to 13-11-4 at home this season...Prior to the game, the Thrashers claimed forward Rico Fata off waivers from the Pittsburgh Penguins.
01/31 23:05:53 ET