Posted February 08, 2013 on
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The Buffalo Sabres picked up a much-needed two points their last time out thanks to another big game from Thomas Vanek.
The New York Islanders, meanwhile, are counting on a couple of fresh faces to help get them back on track.
The Sabres try to build on their latest result Saturday night when they visit the slumping Islanders, who hope both Lubomir Visnovsky and Josh Bailey can make their season debuts.
Buffalo (4-6-1) entered Thursday mired in a 1-6-1 skid before escaping with a 5-4 shootout win over Montreal. Vanek continued his impressive play with a pair of third-period goals - the second coming with two seconds left in regulation. He leads the NHL with 10 goals and 21 points.
"It's great," said Vanek, who also scored in the shootout. "It means we get to not go home all frustrated tonight. Enjoy the win. Probably going to sleep better. Wake up tomorrow and go for the next one."
Sitting at the bottom of the Northeast Division, Buffalo still has plenty of room for improvement. The Sabres have allowed a league worst-tying 41 goals, giving up at least four in six straight contests.
"We've been finding ways to lose, and we found a way to win," coach Lindy Ruff said. "As much as we've tried to stay positive and stay away from the mistakes and try to ride through this tough stretch, it really is about winning the next game already. About putting this one behind us and focusing on getting better and getting on a run because we've got some ground to make up."
So does New York (4-5-1), which has been outscored 11-3 during a three-game skid. The Islanders' woes continued Thursday in a 4-1 road loss to the New York Rangers.
"We have to make the opposition's defense work harder," said John Tavares, who provided all the offense with his fifth goal and team-leading 12th point. "We just weren't good enough. That is unacceptable. Our effort and consistency has to be there for the full 60 minutes."
The Islanders, though, have reason for optimism with Visnovsky likely to debut Saturday. The veteran defenseman, who was acquired from Anaheim during the offseason, stayed in his native Slovakia to tend to a family matter following the lockout.
"The big challenge for me is to help this team and show everybody that this is a playoff team," Visnovsky, who's notched at least 40 points in five of the last seven seasons, told the team's official website. "I'm playing for the playoffs. We have a big game (Saturday) and I have a lot to prove."
Bailey suffered a knee injury while playing overseas during the lockout but also has a chance to debut versus Buffalo.
"Both those guys I think are coming in at the right time because we need a little boost here," Tavares said. "We're getting a couple of guys that we're really going to rely on in all areas of our game. ... Hopefully it can lead to some good results starting (Saturday).
Visnovsky should help a power play that is 0 for 19 in the last three games after opening the season 9 for 24.
Buffalo's Ryan Miller has yet to find his form, going 2-4-1 with a 3.69 goals-against average over his last seven starts. The former Vezina Trophy winner is 13-8-2 lifetime against the Islanders despite a 3.10 GAA - tied for his second-highest mark against any Eastern Conference team.
The Islanders are 5-1-1 in their last seven homes games against the Sabres, but lost the most recent matchup there 4-3 in a shootout on Feb. 4, 2012.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
If not for the NHL lockout, Buffalo Sabres forward Thomas Vanek would have missed an opportunity to return home to play in his native Austria.
The time off and brief but sweet homecoming last fall did wonders for Vanek in rekindling his passion for hockey and his scoring touch.
Vanek's newfound perspective has been on display through the first three weeks of the NHL season...
I’ve long been a defender of Lindy Ruff. For years, he coached teams that ranked in the bottom of the league in payroll in a cap-free world. As the longest tenured head coach in the NHL, he has lead some squads that overachieved and for a while it was easy to blame outside forces for the team’s recent shortcomings. After all, when the fields evened after the full-season lockout...
Darcy Regier may have given the impression that Lindy Ruff ain't goin' nowhere if the Sabres' season continues trending downward, but Ted Black was far from willing to use that vernacular when I spoke to the team president last night during Buffalo's 5-4 shootout win over Montreal.
Black's refusal to declare the coach as untouchable isn't a news flash for...
Thomas Vanek scored twice in regulation, including the tying goal with 2 seconds left, and also came through in the shootout to rally the Buffalo Sabres past the Montreal Canadiens 5-4 on Thursday night.
Jason Pominville also scored in the shootout and Ryan Miller clinched the victory by making a left pad save to stop Brian Gionta on Montreal's final opportunity.
from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,
10. Patrick Kaleta, Sabres
Reacting to Kaleta’s 2009 head shot on Montreal’s Andrei Markov, TSN’s Dave Hodge wondered if the agitator might be better off playing without a stick since he wasn’t bothering to play the puck. Kaleta has matured somewhat, but he’s still basically a hit-to-hurt player, a human missile with little...
The Bruins played their worst game of the season the last time they faced off with Buffalo, and Sabres forward Thomas Vanek had a great deal to do with that.
The 29-year-old Austrian tallied five points, including a hat trick, in his team’s 7-4 win over Boston and is off to perhaps the best start of his eight-year career. Vanek leads the NHL in both goals (11) and points (23) through...
The Sabres never have an easy time when facing the Islanders, but they found a way to win on Saturday.
Ryan Miller stopped 41 of 43 shots on the night, helping the Sabres put together two consecutive victories since season opening wins against Philadelphia and Toronto.
Despite getting outshot 43-15, the Sabres held on and escaped Long Island with a much needed two points at Nassau Colise...
Today the Sabres face the Islanders in Nassau Coliseum thus completing the first quarter of this lockout shortened season. It has been a disappointing start, both for the organization with a 4-6-1 record, and for many of the individual players who have struggled mightily out of the gate. Injuries, a lack of training camp, and the condensed schedule have been the common excuses...
Ryan Miller made 41 saves, and Alexander Sulzer scored the tiebreaking goal midway through the third period for the Buffalo Sabres, who earned a 3-2 victory over the New York Islanders despite being badly outshot Saturday night.
Thomas Vanek and Christian Ehrhoff added goals for the Sabres, who won their second straight game. Buffalo was outshot 43-15 by the Islanders, who dropped...
Back in 2007 the Sabres brought in longtime hockey coach & broadcaster Harry Neale to serve as Rick Jeanneret’s sidekick in the booth. This past off-season however the team made major moves, which included bumping Harry out of the booth in favor of former Sabres tough guy Rob Ray. Harry was delegated to intermission analyst duties, which include his own segment coined “2...
Christian Ehrhoff took that game day skate this morning and will play tonight after sitting out the Ottawa game with a muscle related ailment. Mike Weber also took the skate today, after having sat out Wednesdayâs impromptu practice due a maintenance day. Weber has acquitted himself well with the performances that he has delivered since he stepped into the lineup last weekend...
Nice push back byBuffalo. Down a goal, they righted the wrong in rapid fire fashion.
@4:26 Mikhail Grigorenko applied smothering forecheck to turn pover a puck behind Budaj.. Hecht threads a a beauty of a pass to Ott who promply throws a perfect spin-o-rama shot at Budaj's feet and the puck squirted through the Montreal backup goaler.
Three Stars of the Week
1. Thomas Vanek (Buffalo Sabres)
Thomas Vanek has been a beast during the last seven days, to be put simply. Vanek has scored five goals in four games last week and has added four assists. With nine points in four games, he is averaging more than two a game over the past week. Also factor in Vanek’s +6 rating, and Vanek has...