ATLANTA (AP) — Buffalo's Ryan Miller was pulled after giving up three goals in the first 6 minutes and Jim Slater's third-period goal gave the Atlanta Thrashers a 4-3 win over the Northeast-leading Sabres on Tuesday night.
After Miller's early exit, Patrick Lalime shut out the Thrashers until Slater's tiebreaking goal with 6:44 remaining. Niclas Bergfors' third assist set up Slater's shot in front of the net.
The Sabres have lost three straight and fell to 0-2 on their five-game road trip. Buffalo began the night three points ahead of second-place Ottawa in the Northeast Division.
The Sabres trailed 3-1 after the first period before tying the game early in the third period. Tim Kennedy deflected Steve Montador's shot past Johan Hedberg for a 3-3 tie.
Matt Ellis and Jason Pominville also scored for the Sabres.
The Thrashers, who ended a six-game losing streak, snapped out of a scoring slump with the three early goals by Nik Antropov, Bryan Little and Maxim Afinogenov. Atlanta had only eight goals in their six straight losses.
Fans arriving only a few minutes late missed seeing Miller, the U.S. Olympics star, in the net for Buffalo.
Miller was pulled after allowing three goals with only two stops in the first 5:40. It was a dramatic development for the MVP of the Olympics tournament. Miller also gave up three first-period goals in a 5-3 win over Dallas on March 10.
Despite his early exit, Miller received an ovation during the first break when fans were reminded of his starring role on the U.S. team.
The Sabres ended an 0-for-16 slump on their power play in road games when Pominville scored with a man-advantage in the first period.
Buffalo cut the Atlanta lead to 3-2 in the second period when Ellis tipped Kennedy's shot into the net.
Afinogenov, in his first season with Atlanta after nine in Buffalo, had a goal and an assist in the opening minutes. His pass from behind the net set up Antropov's shot for a 1-0 lead only 33 seconds into the game. Little's goal pushed the lead to 2-0 before Pominville answered for Buffalo. Afinogenov's shot past Miller's catching glove gave Atlanta a 3-1 lead.
NOTES: Buffalo has won only one of its last 11 road games. ... Hedberg had 29 saves. ... Lalime stopped 20 shots. ... Thrashers C Todd White returned after leaving with an apparent injury to his right leg early in the second period. ... Atlanta took its first lead since March 6 by scoring the first goal.