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Game Recap

Sabres 3, Rangers 1

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:47 AM

Associated Press

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Sabres 3, Rangers 1
Buffalo Sabres 3, New York Rangers 1
Matt Ellis
(Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Ruff Wins 400th Game

NEW YORK (AP) -There is one remaining undefeated NHL team from New York, and it isn't the Rangers.

After three games, it's time to take a look at the suddenly defensive-minded Buffalo Sabres.

Thomas Vanek scored twice, once on a power play and again when Buffalo was short-handed, and the Sabres handed the Rangers their first loss, 3-1 Wednesday night.

The Sabres certainly were aware of the Rangers' 5-0 start and they were happy to beat them at Madison Square Garden. Buffalo is 3-0 and has allowed only one goal in each game.

"We all heard about how good the Rangers are, and they are really good," Vanek said. "They're off to a great start, so it's good for us to come in here and play a solid a road game and give up only one goal."

Vanek scored the second of Buffalo's two power-play goals in the second - the first man-advantage tallies allowed by the Rangers this season - and then widened the lead in the third. He has five goals in the Sabres' first three games, including consecutive two-goal contests.

He also has the first two short-handed goals of his career, welcoming the added work of penalty killing from coach Lindy Ruff. Despite the results, the job is hardly coming to him naturally.

"No it's not," Vanek said, laughing. "Lindy has been giving me some responsibilities and I am going to take my challenge positively and hopefully I can stay on it.

"I'm actually trying not to give up any when I'm out there. The two shorties are just a bonus."

Ales Kotalik also scored and Ryan Miller had a quiet night in goal for Buffalo, which trailed 1-0 and recorded only 18 shots. Ruff, the longest current tenured coach in the NHL, became the 23rd to reach 400 career victories.

"I've had a lot of good players and a lot of good teams," Ruff said.

Scott Gomez was the only one to get a puck past Miller, who made 19 saves, and he did it by getting hit by deflecting a shot from teammate Michal Rozsival. New York was trying for its first 6-0 record in club history.

Buffalo gained control after Paul Mara took a major penalty for fighting and was ejected from the game at the midway point, leaving the Rangers with five defensemen.

Mara absorbed a hard hit from Patrick Kaleta along the boards near the right point and immediately dropped his gloves and threw punches as Kaleta crouched and covered up.

There was already bad blood between the two because a hit from Kaleta in February caused fractures in Mara's face that required surgery and knocked the defenseman out for 12 games.

"It's two hits on me that he has jumped," Mara said. "I just made a decision that enough is enough from that little guy. If he was a man, he would've dropped the gloves and stood in there. I did what I had to do.

"I'll always remember that hit. And when he was in the scrum he made a pretty classless move, asking me how my face was. You don't want to hurt guys in this league, and to have him say something like that, it's classless."

Mara landed several shots while Kaleta kept his gloves on and tried to protect himself. Buffalo came away without any penalties and a 5-minute power play at 10:03.

"I caught him pretty good last year, but it's part of the game," Kaleta said. "I go in and finish the check. That's my job and that's what I have to do. Whether he didn't like it, or it was from last year, I'm not too sure."

Vanek made the Rangers pay when he swooped in after a rebound of Derek Roy's shot that hit off goalie Henrik Lundqvist's glove and slammed in the loose puck to make it 2-1 with 7:30 left in the second.

New York had a chance to get back into the game, in which it was outshot 13-9 through two periods, when Sabres captain Craig Rivet took a 4-minute penalty for high-sticking. But only 1:06 later, Vanek finished a 2-on-1 off a crisp pass from Daniel Paille.

Kotalik snapped New York's streak of 23 consecutive penalty kills to start the season when he poked the puck through a maze of legs and between Lundqvist's pads at 6:32.

"We got a little sloppy, and they're a team that takes advantage of that," Rangers captain Chris Drury said. "W came out with a lot of energy and we were sharp early. It kind of faded as the game went on."

Gomez put the Rangers ahead 1-0 at 6:32 of the first.

Notes: Rangers RW Petr Prucha returned to the lineup, in place of Dan Fritsche. ... Vanek netted his first NHL short-handed goal Monday against the New York Islanders. ... LW Matt Ellis made his Sabres debut in place of C Jochen Hecht, who is out at least two weeks (finger surgery).

scoring summary
1st Period
Scott Gomez (2) ASST: Michal Rozsival (1), Ryan Callahan (1)
1 - 0 NYR
2nd Period
PPG - Ales Kotalik (2) ASST: Clarke MacArthur (1), Teppo Numminen (3)
1 - 1 Tie
PPG - Thomas Vanek (4) ASST: Derek Roy (2), Jason Pominville (3)
2 - 1 BUF
3rd Period
SHG - Thomas Vanek (5) ASST: Daniel Paille (3), Toni Lydman (2)
3 - 1 BUF
penalty summary
1st Period
Colton Orr  Fighting (maj) against  Andrew Peters
Andrew Peters  Fighting (maj) against  Colton Orr
Adam Mair  Hooking against  Scott Gomez
Dmitri Kalinin  Hooking against  Jason Pominville
Paul Mara  Tripping against  Derek Roy
Clarke MacArthur  Tripping against  Colton Orr
2nd Period
Michal Rozsival  Tripping against  Daniel Paille
Paul Mara  Fighting (maj) against  Patrick Kaleta
Paul Mara  Aggressor against  Patrick Kaleta
Clarke MacArthur  Hooking against  Marc Staal
3rd Period
Craig Rivet  Hi stick - double minor against  Ryan Callahan
goalie stats
Ryan Miller
Ryan Miller
SA: 20TOI: 59:52
Saves: 19EV: 14 - 15
PIM: 0PP: 5 - 5
SV%: .950SH: 0 - 0
Henrik Lundqvist
Henrik Lundqvist
SA: 19TOI: 57:48
Saves: 16EV: 10 - 10
PIM: 0PP: 5 - 7
SV%: .842SH: 1 - 2 is the official Web site of The Buffalo Sabres. The Buffalo Sabres and are trademarks of The Hockey Western New York, LLC. NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2015 The Hockey Western New York, LLC and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.