NHL Game Summary - Atlanta at Buffalo
(Friday, January 18th)
Final Score: Buffalo 10, Atlanta 1
Buffalo, NY (Sports Network) - Drew Stafford recorded his first career hat trick and notched a career-high five points as Buffalo put to rest a 10-game winless streak with an emphatic 10-1 win over Atlanta at HSBC Arena.
Derek Roy also notched a hat trick for the Sabres, who picked up their first win since a 6-5 shootout decision over the Flyers in Philadelphia on December 22, and set a season-high for goals in one game.
Thomas Vanek, Jochen Hecht and Ales Kotalik added a goal and two assists apiece and Daniel Paille also tallied for Buffalo, which last registered double-digit goals in a 10-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings on January 14, 2006.
Ryan Miller stopped 23-of-24 shots for his 18th win of the season.
"It's kind of fitting, a 10-game skid and 10 goals," Miller noted. "The world works in mysterious ways. It's nice to snap it, but it's more important what we do with it."
Colin Stuart scored for the Thrashers, who have lost four of their last six. It was the first time in franchise history the team had given up 10 or more goals in one game. In addition, the nine-goal loss matches a franchise-worst, set in 9-0 losses to Carolina on November 12, 2005 and to New Jersey on March 10, 2000.
"We're going to write it off as one of those games," said Atlanta head coach Don Waddell. "We've played too well lately to let one game sink us for the season. We're not happy, but we'll deal with it."
Starter Johan Hedberg was rocked for seven goals on 28 shots in defeat. Kari Lehtonen, who played a little over 27 minutes in relief, allowed three goals on 21 shots.
Hedberg returned at the start of the third, and Stafford welcomed him with a breakaway right out of the penalty box to put Buffalo up 8-1 at the 7:53 mark.
He completed the hat trick by sweeping in the rebound of Toni Lydman's chance with 8:22 left in the contest.
The Sabres were awarded a two-man advantage for a full five minutes after Atlanta's Eric Boulton was tossed from the game at 12:49, but failed to net a 10th goal.
When Stuart went off for a high-stick with 2:10 remaining, Buffalo gained another two-man edge, and Kotalik's blast 32 seconds later finally put the Sabres in double digits.
"I wish those bounces would have been around a week ago and a couple of days ago," said Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff. "It's funny how the game goes. We were really concerned about playing our game, and that's at both ends of the ice."
Buffalo jumped on top just 1:54 into the game, as Paille took advantage of a bad clearing attempt by Slava Kozlov and shoveled the loose puck home from the slot.
It was 2-0 for the Sabres at 5:14 as Jason Pominville dumped the puck in along the right boards, but it hit a glass support right when Hedberg drifted behind his net to make a play. Stafford happened to be in the slot when the disc caromed back in front, and hit a wide open net.
Only 23 seconds later, Roy pushed a shot through traffic in the crease for a 3-0 game, and he struck again at 9:07 for a four-goal Sabres cushion.
Atlanta got one back at 10:08, as Stuart beat Miller on a short-handed breakaway, and Hedberg was finally bailed out by Lehtonen.
"They took it to us. They didn't let up," said a dejected Hedberg. "That definitely hurts. This feeling is something I don't want to feel again."
Hecht's goal 5:30 into the second restored Buffalo's four-goal advantage, and Paille netted his second of the game with 5:19 left by sneaking a rebound past Lehtonen, who was distracted when Roy went hurtling through the crease.
The rout was on as Vanek tipped in Dmitri Kalinin's shot for a power-play goal and 7-1 game with under a minute left in the second.
"We weren't trying to do anything too special," Stafford said. "We wanted to outwork them. It feels good to win finally. It's a little different than what we've been feeling."
Atlanta had won five of the last eight meetings prior to this contest...The Sabres have outscored the Thrashers 16-1 at home this season, following a 6-0 win on October 11...Roy collected his second career three-goal game...Kalinin registered three assists, and Pominville chipped in a pair of helpers...NHL goal leader Ilya Kovalchuk failed to record a point and was a team-worst minus-4 along with defensemen Ken Klee and Alexei Zhitnik...There were 25 penalties whistled in the game, 16 to Atlanta.
01/19 00:06:24 ET