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Thomas Vanek and Ryan Miller lead Sabres past Blackhawks 3-1

The Canadian Press
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The Hockey News
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Thomas Vanek and Ryan Miller lead Sabres past Blackhawks 3-1

The Canadian Press
By:

BUFFALO, N.Y. - Thomas Vanek had a goal and assist, and Ryan Miller made 26 saves to spoil Patrick Kane's homecoming and help lift the Buffalo Sabres to a 3-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday night.

Drew Stafford and Jason Pominville also scored, and Derek Roy added two assists for the Sabres, who won their third straight and fourth in five games.

Kane scored for the slumping Blackhawks, who've lost five of six overall, and four straight on the road.

The game was Kane's first in his hometown. The No. 1 overall pick in this year's draft grew up about six miles from the Sabres' downtown arena, HSBC Arena, and had about 500 family and friends in attendance at the game.

Miller was solid in making his fifth straight start and 10th consecutive appearance. He made several solid stops, including denying Kane's point-blank shot in the second period to preserve Buffalo's one-goal lead.

Miller also made a sparkling kick save on Tuomo Ruutu from in close with six minutes left in regulation.

Chicago's Nikolai Khabibulin finished with 20 saves in his fifth straight start.

Kane opened the scoring at 2:35 of the first with his first goal in 14 games. From behind the goal line, Patrick Sharp fed Kane, who was just coming into the slot. Kane one-timed the puck past Miller along the ice for his eighth of the season.

Vanek tied it with his 10th nearly three minutes into the second period on the power play. Standing in the slot, Vanek let a quick wrist shot go after accepting a pass from Roy, who was behind the goal line.

Stafford made it 2-1 midway through the second with his seventh of the season. Stafford picked up a loose puck in the right circle, whirled around and whistled a wrist shot that eluded Khabibulin.

Pominville capped the scoring with an empty-net goal with 47 seconds remaining.

Notes: Kane was honoured before the game, with his father and grandfather dropping the ceremonial first puck. ... Because of Kane, the Blackhawks opened their morning skate to the public, and about 1,000 people showed up. ... This was the first matchup between the teams in Buffalo since a 1-1 tie in December 2002. ... Buffalo is 2-4 against the Western Conference. ... It was Chicago's only road contest during its current stretch of playing six of seven at home.

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Thomas Vanek and Ryan Miller lead Sabres past Blackhawks 3-1