BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) -Thomas Vanek scored twice, sparking a three-goal second period, and Ryan Miller stopped 32 shots in the Buffalo Sabres' 5-2 win over the New York Rangers on Wednesday night in the Eastern Conference semifinal series opener.
Jason Pominville and Ales Kotalik also scored for a Buffalo team that played much better after struggling to eliminate the New York Islanders in five games in the first round.
Marcel Hossa and Brendan Shanahan scored third-period goals for the Rangers, who lost their first game this postseason after sweeping Southeast Division champion Atlanta. The Rangers went 1-for-5 in power-play chances, but failed to score during a 2-minute, two-man advantage early in the third period.
The Sabres never allowed the Rangers to within a goal in the third, and Drew Stafford sealed the win with an empty-netter. New York had allowed a total of six goals in the first round against the Thrashers.
New York didn't look rusty in its first game in a week, but the Rangers struggled to keep up with the Sabres' depth and speed. That was apparent when the Sabres went up 3-0, scoring three times on four shots during a 4:05 span late in the second.
Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is Friday in Buffalo.
Ducks 5, Canucks 1
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) - Andy McDonald had his first career playoff hat trick and assisted on another goal as Anaheim opened its first series against Vancouver with a victory.
After Jeff Cowan gave Vancouver a 1-0 lead at 7:07 of the first period, the Ducks responded by scoring three times - twice by McDonald - on their first nine shots against goalie Roberto Luongo.
Teemu Selanne had a goal and assist during the outburst, and Chris Kunitz assisted on all three goals. Jean-Sebastien Giguere finished with 26 saves for the Ducks.
Ryan Getzlaf gave Anaheim a three-goal pad midway through the final period, and McDonald capped the scoring on a shot from just left of the crease when the Ducks had a two-man advantage with 52 seconds remaining.
The second game of the Western Conference semifinal series is Friday at Anaheim.
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