Buffalo 7 – Boston 4
Thursday, January 31, 2013
BOSTON – Four days ago, Thomas Vanek wasn’t healthy enough to play in a game. On Thursday, he carried the Buffalo Sabres to victory. The red-hot Vanek scored three goals and added two assists for his second five-point game of the young season, leading Buffalo to a come-from-behind 7-4 pounding of the Boston Bruins. Not only did the victory snap Buffalo’s four-game winless skid, it was also Boston’s first regulation loss of the season. Vanek's five-point night gives him sole possession of the NHL's scoring lead with 15 points (6+9).
Vanek opened the scoring in the first period, but the Bruins scored the next three and threatened to run away with the game during a five-minute stretch midway through the second period. But Vanek and Tyler Ennis counterpunched the Bruins late in the second to send the game to intermission even at 3-3. David Krejci gave Boston another lead 105 seconds into the third period, but it was all Sabres after that. Alexander Sulzer and Cody Hodgson got the Sabres back on top, followed by Vanek’s hat trick insurance marker at 18:29. Jason Pominville scored an empty netter with 14 seconds left to cap off his three-point night. Ryan Miller faced 42 shots to earn the win, and made a pair of spectacular saves in the third period on Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron to preserve the victory.
Patrick Kaleta did not make the trip to Boston, as he is back in Buffalo recovering from neck injury that forced him to spend Tuesday night in the hospital… Robyn Regehr missed his second straight game with a lower body injury… TJ Brennan was Buffalo’s lone healthy scratch.
BEHIND THE NUMBERS
The win was Buffalo’s first in Boston since March 10, 2011… Thomas Vanek’s hat trick was the eighth of his career, and his first since April 5, 2011. That was also the last hat trick recorded by the Sabres. Vanek’s eight hat tricks are sixth in franchise history, one behind Dave Andreychuk… Vanek has collected at least one point in each of the six games he’s played; this was his third multi-point game of the season… Vanek has 26 points (8+18) in his last 16 games dating back to last season… Vanek’s 54 points (28+26) in 45 career games against Boston are his highest against any opponent… Jason Pominville has recorded points in six of seven games… The Sabres are now 2-0-0 this season when scoring five or more goals… Buffalo only scored seven goals in a game once last year (Mar. 19 @ TB)… Alexander Sulzer’s goal was his first since April 3, 2012… Mikhail Grigorenko picked up his first career assist on Sulzer’s goal… First of five meetings this season between Sabres and Bruins… Buffalo is 6-2-2 in last 10 vs. Bruins; 4-4-2 on the road… Sabres improve to 115-109-40 all-time against Boston; 45-68-19 on the road.
BUFFALO’S RECORD WHEN…
* Tied after the first period: 1-3-1
* Scoring first: 3-2-0
* Tied after two 2-1-0
* Outshot by the opposition: 2-3-0
BUFFALO’S REAL-TIME STATS LEADERS
Time on Ice: Christian Ehrhoff, 24:18
Shots: Jason Pominville, 5
Blocked Shots: Andrej Sekera, 5
Faceoff Wins: Cody Hodgson, 7
Total Faceoffs: Hodgson, 16 (7-9)
Hits: Mike Weber, 6
The Sabres were one-for-three on the power play, with their long goal being a big one. Thomas Vanek’s redirect of Christian Ehrhoff’s point shot got the Sabres within one at 3-2, and it came with the Bruins down two men as Milan Lucic and Zdeno Chara were both in the box serving minor penalties. Buffalo’s power play is now at 24% (6/25) through seven games. The penalty kill was perfect for the second game in a row, shutting down four Boston power The Sabres’ penalty killers went to bed tonight ranked 12th at 82.8% (24/29).
* Saturday @ Montreal, 2 p.m.
* Sunday vs. Florida, 3 p.m.
* Tuesday @ Ottawa, 7:30 p.m.