Winnipeg 4 – Buffalo 1
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
WINNIPEG – With time running out on the regular season, the Buffalo Sabres know they can’t afford to let games slip away from them now. But a three-game winning streak that had brought a renewed sense of belief to the locker room came to a halt on Tuesday thanks to a sloppy 20-minute stretch of play.
The Winnipeg Jets scored three times in the second period, cruising to a 4-1 win over Buffalo in front of another sold-out crowd of 15,004 at the MTS Centre. Andrew Ladd paced the Jets with one goal and one assist, while Aaron Gagnon’s first career NHL goal proved to be the game winner. Kevin Porter scored Buffalo’s only goal, his third of the season.
The loss dropped Buffalo to 16-18-6 (38 pts.), and denied them a chance to gain a valuable two points in the race for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Jets opened up a four-point gap on Buffalo with the win, improving to 20-19-2 (42 pts.) with seven games left to play.
The Sabres will play six of their final eight games at home, including the next three in a row. Next up for Buffalo is a Thursday night date with the Montreal Canadiens at First Niagara Centre.
In his first game back from injury, Thomas Vanek had two shots on goal, including a glorious chance on a Jets’ giveaway in the second period that was denied by Ondrej Pavelec. Vanek started the night on a line with Tyler Ennis and Drew Stafford, but he played the third period on the left side with Steve Ott and Cody Hodgson. That change also saw Nathan Gerbe dropped down to the second line for the final period.
Patrick Kaleta left the game in the second period with an upper body, and did not return. He finished the night with 6:37 of ice time in nine shifts. There was no further update on Kaleta’s condition following the game.
No Scoring … Shots on Goal: Winnipeg 11 – Buffalo 8
1-0 WPG: Evander Kane's shot from the corner hits Christian Ehrhoff's skate and bounces right to Kyle Wellwood all alone in front (4:54)… 2-0 WPG: Aaron Gagnon scores his first career NHL goal on a one-timer from the slot (10:04)… 3-0 WPG: Andrew Ladd uses quick hands in tight to go backhand-forehand on Miller. (19:38)… Shots on Goal: Winnipeg 12 – Buffalo 8
3-1: Kevin Porter's pass in front banks in off the leg of Blake Wheeler. (4:54)… 4-1 WPG: Wheeler scores the empty netter with 25.6 left on the clock. (19:44)… Shots on Goal: Winnipeg 7 – Buffalo 14
Thomas Vanek returned to the lineup after missing the previous six games with an upper body injury… Ville Leino was sidelined for the fifth straight game (upper body injury); Leino did not travel with the team to Winnipeg… Luke Adam was a healthy scratch.
BEHIND THE NUMBERS
Kevin Porter now has four points (3+1) in his last four games… Steve Ott saw his three-game point streak come to an end, and Jochen Hecht’s was stopped after two games… The loss was Buffalo’s first in April. They are now 3-1-0 this month, and 26-12-3 in the month of April since 2005-06… 50th game all-time between Buffalo and Winnipeg; Buffalo has a 21-18-11 series record; the Sabres are 7-11-7 all-time on the road against Winnipeg.
BUFFALO’S REAL-TIME STATS LEADERS
Time on Ice: Christian Ehrhoff, 24:30
Shots: Nathan Gerbe, 4
Blocked Shots: Ehrhoff/Myers, 3
Hits: Steve Ott, 5
Faceoff Wins: Cody Hodgson, 8
Total Faceoffs: Hodgson, 12 (8-4)
BUFFALO’S RECORD WHEN...
Opponent Scoring First: 4-14-2
Tied after the first period: 10-8-3
Trailing after the second period: 2-13-2
Shots are even: 0-1-1
Overall: 17/143, 11.9%
Road: 8/75, 10.7%
Overall: 119/153, 77.8%
Road: 74/94, 78.7%
* Thursday vs. Montreal, 7:30 p.m.
* Saturday vs. Philadelphia, 3 p.m.
* Sunday vs. Tampa Bay, 5 p.m.