The Vancouver Canucks are in Buffalo for the first time since November 15, 2010. Currently at 8th in the Western Conference, the Canucks face a Buffalo Sabres team that has gotten one of the biggest monkeys off their back, they finally have a win.
The Buffalo Sabres can now focus on getting the little things done, that is the goal for the next few games, the first of which is tonight, but the Sabres could not handle the Vancouver offense, falling 3-0 to the visiting Canucks.
Ryan Miller was in net tonight, making his fifth start this season opposite Roberto Luongo. The players that are out tonight for Buffalo are Girgensons, McBain, and Kaleta.
The Canucks began the game very strong, applying pressure to Miller very early. Marcus Foligno went down with a cross checking penalty only 37 seconds in, giving Vancouver a chance to take the lead early.
Buffalo generated some decent chances, but none were able to get through Luongo.
Vancouver got on the board first with a snapshot goal from Chris Higgins. Assists were given to Mike Santorelli.
At the end of the first, Vancouver lead Buffalo, 1-0. The shot count read a very lopsided 19-7 in favor of Vancouver.
Hoping to pick up momentum, the Sabres began the second period with a whole new tempo of play, only to sink back down and fall into the same rut that they had been in from the first period.
A chance came about halfway into the second when Vancouver’s Dan Hamhuis went to the box for holding Johan Larsson.
Buffalo tried to create chances during the man advantage, but with 13 seconds remaining, Vancouver, on a rush, scored their league leading third shorthanded goal off of a Brad Richardson deflection.
The rest of the period played out with Vancouver continuing their immense offensive presence, but Buffalo picked it up right at the end to put some pressure on Vancouver.
At the end of two, the score was 2-0 and the shot count was in favor of the Canucks, 28-14.
Buffalo looked like they may have cut the lead down to 1 goal, when a cross ice pass from Cody Hodgson to Thomas Vanek led to Vanek wristing what looked like a sure goal into the net over Luongo’s shoulders. Upon further review it was seen that the puck instead hit off the crossbar and the game was back to 2-0.
At the point of the waived off goal, Buffalo managed to shoot the last 6 shots.
Vancouver buried Buffalo even further, however, when defenseman Ryan Stanton scored his first NHL goal with an assist to both Sedin brothers.
With a few minutes remaining in the third, the crowd was loud with the “Fire Darcy” chant, expressing their feelings of the Sabres General Manager.
At the buzzer, Vancouver walked out of First Niagara Center with a 3-0 shutout victory.
Miller tried to keep the team in the game as he finished with 31 saves on 34 shots, while Luongo stopped a total of 25 shots.
With the loss, Buffalo drops to 1-7-1. They will remain at home for a 7PM face-off versus the 6-0-0 Colorado Avalanche on Saturday night.