Canucks look for win against undefeated Sabres

The Sports Network

10/17/2008 12:13:12 PM

(Sports Network) - Thomas Vanek will try to help the Buffalo Sabres remain unbeaten on the season when they welcome the Vancouver Canucks to town this evening for a showdown at HSBC Arena.

Vanek leads the team with five goals and scored twice in a 3-1 win over the previously-unbeaten New York Rangers on Wednesday at Madison Square Garden. Vanek has 13 goals in as many games dating back to last season. Goaltender Ryan Miller stopped 19-of-20 shots in the win to improve to 2-0-0 with a 0.96 goals-against average.

Ales Kotalik also scored for Buffalo, which rallied from an early 1-0 deficit with three unanswered scores and are the only team in the Eastern Conference without a loss. Head coach Lindy Ruff recorded his 400th career victory in the process and seems to have the Sabres back on track since they missed the playoffs in 2007-08 after reaching the Eastern Conference finals in each of the previous two seasons.

Buffalo previously won three straight to start the season two years ago when it won 10 in a row to kick off the 2006-07 campaign. The Sabres captured the Presidents' Trophy that year with an NHL-best 113 points.

Vancouver, meanwhile, has won three of its first four games of the season and just handed the defending champion Detroit Red Wings a 4-3 overtime loss on Thursday at Joe Louis Arena.

Alex Burrows lifted the Canucks to victory with a goal less than a minute into the extra session and also added an assist in the win. Burrows leads the team with three goals. Ryan Kesler, Mason Raymond and Jannik Hansen each scored as Vancouver improved to 2-1 on its current six-game road trip. It will also visit Chicago and Columbus.

Netminder Roberto Luongo stopped 32 of the 35 shots he faced in his fourth consecutive start for the Canucks. Henrik Sedin leads the club with five points and four assists.

The Canucks also placed forward Kyle Wellwood on waivers.  He only played one game this season with the Canucks.

Friday's matchup between Vancouver and Buffalo is the first since the Sabres registered a 4-3 triumph in a shootout on January 19, 2007. Buffalo snapped a four-game series winless streak with that win.

The Canucks are 3-1-1 over the past five encounters with Buffalo, but have lost three of four and four of their last six trips to upstate New York.