Niagara Gazette

Pro Sports

February 7, 2007

SABRES NOTEBOOK: Vanek, Roy and Afinogenov again click

It’s not back to the heights hit earlier this season, but the line of Thomas Vanek, Derek Roy and Maxim Afinogenov had more hop in Buffalo’s 3-2 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday.

Vanek had his first two-goal game since Dec. 30 and was named the first star while Afinogenov scored the other marker on a pretty feed from Roy.

“That line had a real good night,” coach Lindy Ruff said. “They didn’t give up a lot going the other way. That’s a step in the right direction.”

Vanek’s second goal came on the power play and was his third game-winner of the season.

Ruff was impressed with his team’s effort, especially after grinding out a tight win over Atlanta on Tuesday.

“I think we regained a little bite, a little attitude,” he said.

•••

Martin Biron made a number of crucial saves, including some big ones in the third period when the Sabres were two men short, in raising his record to 12-4-1 on the season.

“He made some key saves for us,” Ruff said.

Biron has now won three straight, including a pair of back-to-back wins over Boston last week.

•••

Although the game was another sellout, a number of empty seats could be seen throughout HSBC Arena, and the crowd didn’t get rolling until the third period.

After consecutive penalties to Paul Gaustad, Teppo Numminen and Vanek, the crowd sprung to life.

•••

Jaroslav Spacek was again kept out of the lineup with a knee injury, although he continues to improve. Nathan Paetsch aptly filled Spacek’s spot in the roster, finishing plus-1 in 21 shifts.

Paetsch was named the third star for his efforts. Ales Kotalik was the second star.

•••

Buffalo returns to action Saturday in the second game of a six-game homestand when the Calgary Flames invade the HSBC for a game that will be broadcast on both MSG and CBC. Start time is 7 p.m.



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