Kevin Snow  - (@kwsnow) | Sunday, 01.20.2013 / 5:06 PM

Buffalo 5 – Philadelphia 2
First Niagara Center (Buffalo, NY)

Thomas Vanek had a career-high five points, including three in the third period, as the Buffalo Sabres scored three unanswered goals in a 4:15 span late in the third to open the season with decisive 5-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers before a sold-out First Niagara Center crowd. Buffalo scored three times on the power play, with newcomer Steve Ott getting things started midway through the first period. Tyler Myers scored the game winner at 14:57 of the third period on a wrist shot from the right faceoff circle that appeared to deflect in off the skate of Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen. Jason Pominville chipped in three assists, and Ryan Miller stopped 27 shots to earn the victory.

Thomas Vanek
: Set a new career-high with five points, scoring two goals and adding three assists. He becomes the first NHL player to record five points in a season opener since Steven Reinprecht of Phoenix had a goal and four assists vs. NY Islanders on October 5, 2006. Vanek’s previous career high was four points, which he had accomplished four times – the last being December 16, 2011 vs. Toronto. Vanek also led both teams with nine shots, matching his career-best single-game total. Dating back to last season, Vanek has 16 points (5+11) in his last 12 games.

The Sabres are now 24-14-4 in season openers; 17-6-4 at home… Eight different Sabres recorded a point, the most in a season opener since 10 found the scoresheet in a 6-4 loss to the New York Islanders on Oct. 5, 2007… Vanek’s five-point game was the first by a Sabres player since Drew Stafford had three goals and two assists vs. Atlanta on Jan. 18, 2008… Steve Ott scored on his first shot as a Sabre at 11:07 of the first period to stake Buffalo to an early 1-0 lead. It was the first time in Ott’s career that he scored in the season opener... With his three assists, Pominville now has 27 points (11+16) in 27 career games against Philadelphia… Pominville has not gone two consecutive home games without recording a point since Feb. 25/26, 2011… Miller and Vanek are the only Sabres to have played in every season opener since 2005… Lindy Ruff improved to 9-5-1 in season openers as Sabres head coach… Buffalo won 36 of 67 faceoffs in the game (54%); Philadelphia’s Claude Giroux led both teams with 15 wins… This was just the second time the Sabres have opened the season against Philadelphia; previous was 2-0 loss on Oct. 9, 2004.

Time on Ice: Tyler Myers, 23:11
Shots: Thomas Vanek, 9
Blocked Shots: Robyn Regehr, 3
Faceoff Wins: Cody Hodgson/Tyler Ennis, 11
Total Faceoffs: Hodgson, 20
Hits: Steve Ott, 5

Buffalo was three-for-six on the power play, and killed off three of four Flyers man advantages. All three of Buffalo’s power play goals came while playing five-on-four. Christian Ehrhoff was on the ice for all three goals. On two of the goals, the Sabres were using four forwards on the power play unit. The Sabres only scored three or more power play goals twice last season, and were just three-for-19 over their last five games.

Rookie Mikhail Grigorenko had 11:13 of ice time in his NHL debut, becoming the sixth 18-year-old to ever dress for the Sabres. He finished the night with two shots on goal, and won five of nine faceoffs. Just like his confidence and comfort levels, Grigorenko’s ice time gradually increased each period (2:50, 4:08, 4:15) after being held back early because of special teams play. His first NHL shot was a wrist shot right off a Steve Ott faceoff win in the second period. Grigorenko also made a nifty behind-the-back pass to Ott at the edge of the crease in that period, and drew a tripping penalty on Ruslan Fedotenko in the third period while driving to the net. He also had some brief time on the power play, on the right side of a line with Marcus Foligno and Tyler Ennis.

Ville Leino
missed the game with a leg injury, and head coach Lindy Ruff says he’s doubtful to play Monday in Toronto … TJ Brennan and Mike Weber were healthy scratches.

* Monday @ Toronto, 7 p.m.
* Thursday @ Carolina, 7 p.m.
* Friday vs. Carolina, 7 p.m.

Scoring Summary
1st Period
11:07BUF PPG - Steve Ott (1) ASST: Jason Pominville (1), Thomas Vanek (1) 1 - 0 BUF
2nd Period
02:23PHI Sean Couturier (1) ASST: Kurtis Foster (1), Jakub Voracek (1) 1 - 1 Tie
04:57PHI PPG - Claude Giroux (2) ASST: Kimmo Timonen (1), Wayne Simmonds (1) 2 - 1 PHI
15:54BUF PPG - Thomas Vanek (1) ASST: Drew Stafford (1), Jason Pominville (2) 2 - 2 Tie
3rd Period
14:57BUF PPG - Tyler Myers (1) ASST: Tyler Ennis (1), Thomas Vanek (2) 3 - 2 BUF
16:13BUF Cody Hodgson (1) ASST: Thomas Vanek (3), Andrej Sekera (1) 4 - 2 BUF
19:12BUF EN - Thomas Vanek (2) ASST: Jason Pominville (3) 5 - 2 BUF
Three Stars of the Game
Thomas Vanek
Thomas Vanek
G: 2Shots: 9
A: 3Hits: 0
PTS: 5PIM: 0
+/-: 1TOI: 19:17
Jason Pominville
Jason Pominville
G: 0Shots: 1
A: 3Hits: 0
PTS: 3PIM: 0
+/-: 0TOI: 19:15
Steve Ott
Steve Ott
G: 1Shots: 3
A: 0Hits: 5
PTS: 1PIM: 2
+/-: 0TOI: 15:16
Penalty Summary
1st Period
01:34PHI Scott Hartnell  Roughing against  Marcus Foligno
01:34BUF Marcus Foligno  Roughing against  Scott Hartnell
06:03BUF Marcus Foligno  Roughing against  Luke Schenn
06:03PHI Luke Schenn  Roughing against  Marcus Foligno
09:35PHI Nicklas Grossmann  Tripping against  Cody Hodgson
12:40BUF Robyn Regehr  Tripping against  Wayne Simmonds
17:16BUF Jordan Leopold  Interference against  Claude Giroux
2nd Period
04:25BUF Robyn Regehr  Tripping against  Scott Hartnell
06:04BUF Patrick Kaleta  Roughing against  Kimmo Timonen
06:04PHI Kimmo Timonen  Roughing against  Patrick Kaleta
07:17PHI Scott Hartnell  Boarding against  Jason Pominville
13:50PHI Scott Laughton  Too many men/ice - bench
15:27PHI Luke Schenn  Hooking against  Cody Hodgson
18:20PHI Scott Hartnell  Fighting (maj) against  Drew Stafford
18:20BUF Drew Stafford  Fighting (maj) against  Scott Hartnell
19:18BUF Steve Ott  Embellishment
3rd Period
07:26PHI Ruslan Fedotenko  Tripping against  Mikhail Grigorenko
14:00PHI Luke Schenn  Tripping against  Marcus Foligno
15:47BUF Tyler Myers  Interference against  Scott Hartnell
15:47PHI Scott Hartnell  Interference on goalkeeper against  Ryan Miller
shots by period
Team Stats
Power Plays1/43/6
Faceoff Wins3136
Blocked Shots149
Penalty Minutes2521
3K. FosterD0112010:35
5B. CoburnD00-10024:37
8N. GrossmannD0000217:20
10B. SchennC0002015:35
11E. WellwoodL000008:08
14S. CouturierC1001019:11
17W. SimmondsR01-15017:36
19S. HartnellL00-131117:34
21S. LaughtonC0003010:12
22L. SchennD0002618:42
24M. ReadR0012015:13
25M. TalbotC0001014:20
26R. FedotenkoL0000211:38
28C. GirouxC10-23024:13
36Z. RinaldoC000002:47
41A. MeszarosD0002018:49
44K. TimonenD01-11223:01
93J. VoracekR01-12014:02
30I. Bryzgalov3640.90059:07
3J. LeopoldD0012220:21
9S. OttC1003215:16
10C. EhrhoffD0001022:01
19C. HodgsonC1027019:44
21D. StaffordR0104517:57
24R. RegehrD0012418:25
25M. GrigorenkoC00-12011:13
26T. VanekL2319019:17
29J. PominvilleR0301019:15
32J. ScottL000002:10
36P. KaletaR0001211:37
37M. EllisL000203:48
44A. SekeraD0101017:30
52A. SulzerD0000014:43
55J. HechtC0001014:32
57T. MyersD1002223:11
63T. EnnisC0103018:47
82M. FolignoL0000415:43
30R. Miller2729.93159:58