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Victimized by Vanek

BOSTON- Thomas Vanek’s three goals and two assists catapulted the Sabres to a 7-4 triumph over the Boston Bruins, delivering them their first regulation loss of the season.

Vanek’s previous success in Boston statistically showed, with 49 points, to be higher than against any other opponent. He continued that tonight by adding another five.

“It’s just statistics,” Vanek said. “There’s nothing else to it.”

Statistics or not, his play this season has been off the charts.  Tonight marks his second five-point game this season.  Vanek leads the league with 15 points in six games.

The Sabres have been under constant scrutiny over their lack of toughness, but they unveiled their new demeanor at the TD Garden tonight– literally and figuratively.

Newly acquired enforcer John Scott heated things up with just three minutes in. He gave a good-enough beating to Shawn Thornton that prevented him from returning for the remainder of the game.

“I’m here to help this team out, Scott said. “Whatever the outcome – I’m going to fight for my team.”

The spark that Scott created for the Sabres didn’t last long. Swings of momentum were present throughout the entire 60 minutes of play.

The Sabres’ number one line brought about the first goal of the game in the second period, when Vanek ripped a shot at the 1:38 mark.

Momentum then flipped to the Bruins side as they came off the bench flying. They scored three goals in a span of six minutes, with Rich Peverley tallying his first of the season and Brad Marchand sinking two.

Buffalo answered with two goals of their own with the help of a five-on-three that quickly became the turning point in the game. Vanek redirected a beautiful pass from Christian Ehrhoff to score a power play goal, which put the Sabres within one.

To silence the 17,565 Bruins fans even more, Tyler Ennis buried a puck off a diving pass from Vanek typing up the game with less than two minutes left in the second.

“That play to Ennis was second to none,” Ruff said.

David Krejci started things off in the third period by giving the Bruins their second lead of the game by netting a wrister as Jordan Leopold went down too early.

Their lead didn’t last long. Alexander Sulzer slapped a quick one past Tuukka Rask off a perfectly executed pass from rookie Mikhail Grigorenko. A secondary assist was credited to veteran Jochen Hecht.

Not surprisingly, the Sabres super-line produced again. Jason Pominville battled for the puck and Vanek tapped a pass to himself off the board before sending the puck across ice to Hodgson, who pushed the Sabres ahead by one.

Their chemistry is undeniable.

“With Pommer I’ve always had good chemistry and Cody fits right in,” Vanek said.

The Bruins didn’t stop pressing and Ryan Miller continued facing heat. He robbed Zdeno Chara on a one-timer and came up with two huge saves off Johnny Boychuk with less than nine minutes left in the final frame.

Victimized by Vanek
One of – if not “the” hottest line in the NHL celebrates a goal against the Boston Bruins.
(Photo by Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

Vanek completed his hat trick after coming down the ice and out-deking Rask to propel the Sabres to a 6-4 lead – a lead that would only be added to with an empty netter by Pominville.

“Pucks are going in right now for me,” Vanek said. “There’s going to be stretches where nothing goes, so you like it right now. Eventually it’s going to hit the other way.”

Let’s hope “the other way” isn’t any time soon. The Vanek-Hodgson-Pominville line has given the team 33 of their 65 points this season.

Ryan Miller finished the night with 38 saves and is now 3-2-1 with a 2.64 GAA and a .920 save percentage this year.

The Sabres improve to 3-3-1.

The team heads to Quebec to face the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre on Saturday at 2 p.m.

3 Stars:

1. Thomas Vanek

2. Brad Marchand

3. Ryan Miller

OLGA’S THOUGHTS

Vanek-Hodgson-Pominville

Watching them execute plays is like watching me wreck NHL 13 with cheat codes. More specifically – “Out of this world.”

Myers

Has he made mistakes? Yes. Has he been the sole reason for costing us games yet? No. Myers was steadily improving last year and I think with a few more games to get back into it or a different pairing to create some new energy – he will start gaining back fans’ approval. Tonight’s positive: He did a good job clearing the puck out on the PK and had a shot that went just wide in the first period. Tonight’s negative: High sticking double minor at the end of the third? = Unnecessary.

Under the Radar

Ehrhoff finished off the game at +2. He  has done a remarkable job logging ice time and maintaining a presence on the ice with minimal mistakes. Tonight he recorded 24:18 TOI and had a sick pass that allowed Vanek to knock off the eighth hat trick of his career.

Mike Weber

This guy is doing everything he can to prove to Ruff that he should permanently be in the lineup. Weber brought the energy from the start. He had a painful block with about 30 seconds left on the clock in the first period and had a secondary assist on Vanek’s third goal. Finished off the night +2. Keep him in!

Mikhail Grigorenko

He may have only had 8:57 TOI tonight, but he’s a smart player, a hard worker and improving with every game. Catch my interview with him following this article in a few days – good stuff.

PS: Happy Birthday Tyler Seguin…

 

 

Olga Khmylev

Olga Khmylev

Buffalo Sabres Contributor
"Hockey is a man's sport." Thank you Mom & Dad! ☺ Ever since my dream of becoming the 1st female NHLer was crushed, I decided to pursue a career that would keep me involved with the most entertaining sport in the world. The Sabres are in my blood. My first game I ever attended was at age 2 and I think I spent 59 minutes of the game sleeping in the wives room... ha! Things have slightly changed since then and now my eyes are permanently glued to the ice whenever a game is on. I've been lucky enough to work as a PR intern for the Buffalo Sabres during the 2011 World Jrs and as a Results Manager for the International Ice Hockey Federation at the 2012 & 2013 World Jrs. The next chapter of my life involves entertaining you… Enjoy! 🙂 Twitter: @OlgaKhmylev
Olga Khmylev
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