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NOTEBOOK: VANEK NETS GAME WINNER

Friday, 11.23.2007 / 11:42 PM / Multimedia
By Erin Pollina  - Sabres.com
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NOTEBOOK: VANEK NETS GAME WINNER

Thomas Vanek
Thomas Vanek can finally breathe a sigh of relief.

The young winger, who hasn’t scored a goal since Nov. 2, buried the game winner in the third period Friday night against the Montreal Canadiens at HSBC Arena.

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Audio:
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Photo:  Montreal 2, Buffalo 4
Video:  Ryan Miller Post-Game
Video:  Lindy Ruff Post-Game
Video:  Daniel Paille Post-Game
Video:  Thomas Vanek Post-Game












Although scoring may allow him to relax a bit, it doesn’t appear Vanek will be doing so anytime soon.

“I still have a ways to go, but it’s a step,” he said. “It was a great play by Paetscher, kind of a shot pass. I feel like I got a great tip on the first one and it hit [Montreal goaltender Carey Price] in the shoulder and I just stuck with it and put it in.”

That may have been the difference for Vanek. Rather than become frustrated with some missed shots or blocked opportunities, he continued to battle in front of the net and kept his composure.

“At times you go cold for a long period of time,” Lindy Ruff said. “It’s just how you handle that.”

The goals may not have been coming, but Vanek is not without points. In the last two games he has been credited with four assists. However, it was a goal that he has been looking for.

Vanek said he had not altered his game at all since beginning the scoring slump, except for maybe one aspect.

“I think just maybe shooting the puck more instead of holding onto it and looking for the pretty plays,” he said.

“Hopefully there is more to come.”


Buffalo’s power play units also had a break through Friday night.

Two of the Sabres’ four goals came with the man advantage, with another scored moments after Canadien Alex Kovalev’s penalty expired. Buffalo’s final goal was scored on an empty net with less than a minute remaining in the game.

“That should give that unit a little bit of confidence going into the next game,” Lindy Ruff said.

In the last five games, the Sabres had only capitalized on two of 23 power play chances.


In addition, Buffalo also held Montreal’s power play, ranked first in the league (28.2 percent), to one goal on five opportunities, including killing a double minor given to Henrik Tallinder.

“We knew that was going to be important, and our penalty killing has been strong,” Ruff said.

Buffalo’s penalty killing is ranked seventh in the NHL, holding opponents 84.5 percent of the time.


Ryan Miller summed up how his mindset has changed from the beginning of the season, when he was at times struggling, until now.

"Early in the season I was probably too worried about what everyone else is trying to do and trying to be probably bigger than my role, doing too many things at once... [now] I'm just worried about my plate and worried about what I'm eating, and not what everyone else is eating," he said.

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Hodgson 72 20 24 -26 44
T. Ennis 80 21 22 -25 43
D. Stafford 70 16 18 -19 34
C. Ehrhoff 79 6 27 -27 33
C. Stewart 63 15 11 0 26
C. Conacher 79 7 19 1 26
T. Myers 62 9 13 -26 22
Z. Girgensons 70 8 14 -6 22
M. Foligno 74 7 12 -17 19
J. McBain 69 6 11 -13 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
M. Neuvirth 4 8 2 .921 2.78
J. Enroth 4 17 5 .911 2.82