Buffalo Sabres\' Nathan Paetsch, left, knocks the puck away form Columbus Blue Jackets\' Fredrik Modin, of Sweden, during the second period of a preseason hockey game Thursday, Oct. 2, 2008, in Columbus, Ohio. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS/Terry Gilliam
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Jochen Hecht and Ales Kotalik had a goal and an assist each to lead the Buffalo Sabres past the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-2 in a pre-season game Thursday night.
Thomas Vanek, Teppo Numminen and Nathan Gerbe also scored for Buffalo. "Our puck battles were good. We had a pretty good physical nature to the game," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. "We were right there to match them."
Derek Dorsett and Rick Nash netted Columbus' goals.
Patrick Lalime made 26 saves for the Sabres (2-3-1), and Columbus counterpart Fredrik Norrena had 19.
Jiri Novotny fired a slapshot from the slot that caromed off Dorsett near the crease at 3:03 of the first period to give the Blue Jackets (2-4) a 1-0 lead.
Hecht pulled Buffalo even, skating down the right wing and snapping a shot from the right dot inside the near post over Norrena's glove at 17:40.
"We forechecked good. We were really patient," Hecht said. "I think it was really good teamwork. Every line got a goal and everyone contributed."
Vanek made it 2-1 at 6:48. He skated through centre ice, eluded defenceman Rostislav Klesla and fired a slapshot from the right circle that beat Norrena far side.
Kotalik blistered a slapshot from the point at 15:47 during a two-man advantage to increase the Sabres' lead to two goals.
Numminen also scored with a long shot during a power play early in the third period to make it 4-1. Gerbe deked Norrena with a nifty, backhand move to finish a breakaway at 9:04 to stretch Buffalo's advantage to four goals.
Nash brought the Blue Jackets within 5-2 with 7:51 remaining in the game.