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Vanek’s 5-point game starts Sabres’ quest for redemption

Jan 20, 2013, 5:26 PM EDT

BUFFALO, NY - JANUARY 20: Thomas Vanek #26 of the Buffalo Sabres moves in to score buffalo's second goal on Ilya Bryzgalov #30 of the Philadelphia Flyers at First Niagara Center on January 20, 2013 in Buffalo, United States. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images) Getty Images

It’s easy to draw some parallels between the 2011-12 Buffalo Sabres and 2013 Minnesota Wild.

Buffalo had a mediocre 2010-11 campaign, but was optimistic about its future thanks to a new owner in Terrence Pegula and some noteworthy off-season additions including Ville Leino and Christian Ehrhoff to compliment its core of great veterans and rapidly developing youngsters.

While it remains to be seen how Minnesota’s even bigger spending spree will impact the team in the immediate future, the Buffalo Sabres ended up faltering last season and are looking to redeem themselves in 2013.

Thomas Vanek played a key role in starting the Sabres’ campaign off on a high note with his two-goal, three-assist performance against the Philadelphia Flyers. Buffalo went on to open the season with a 5-2 victory.

Vanek’s biggest moment was beating Flyers goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov one-on-one to even the score late in the second period. You can watch that goal below:

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With five points, Vanek now leads the NHL scoring race. His debut surpassed Jaromir Jagr and Teemu Selanne‘s impressive four-point opening-game efforts.

  1. beerjunkie69 - Jan 20, 2013 at 5:31 PM

    Very entertaining and fun game to watch!

  2. mudkip23 - Jan 20, 2013 at 5:34 PM

    I was very impressed with the Sabres team speed. They looked very quick out there today.

  3. buff80 - Jan 20, 2013 at 5:50 PM

    Beat him like a rented mule

  4. travishenryskid - Jan 20, 2013 at 5:50 PM

    Flyers are going to have rough year. Outside of Giroux, there isn’t much talent. They could really use a healthy Briere and a non-matched Shea Weber offer sheet.

    • zetaone - Jan 20, 2013 at 6:18 PM

      They made a HUGE blunder trading JVR for Schenn in my opinion, and not resigning Jagr. Briere’s absence is also very obvious.

    • misterchainbluelightning - Jan 20, 2013 at 6:24 PM

      Scheen, Court and Vorachek isn’t much talent? Hartnell? They have talent, all up front, with no D or goalie. It’s starting to look like a poorly coached team as well.

      • travishenryskid - Jan 20, 2013 at 6:42 PM

        Schenn and Couturier have combined for 48 points in the NHL. Voracek has never scored 20 goals in a season. Hartnell had a statistical outlier season last year and has otherwise been a 45-55 point player. Like I said, not much talent.

      • misterchainbluelightning - Jan 20, 2013 at 7:23 PM

        LOL k
        Too bad hockey is much more than goals and assists, you should try paying closer attention to it in the future.

      • 19to77 - Jan 20, 2013 at 6:50 PM

        Theoretical talent. Schenn looked hot at the end of last year, but before that he barely graced the scoreboard. Couturier looks like a stellar shutdown machine, but he’s shown little offensive flair thus far. So, in their cases, we’re talking purely about potential. The top line looks great, definitely one of the top five first lines on paper, but after that, it’s hard to avoid that a lot of their offense is based on hopeful projections for very young players.

  5. matthewmacisaac - Jan 20, 2013 at 7:02 PM

    The Flyers have their sloppy moments. They have to work on their special teams and LINE CHANGES, but the refs today looked more out of sync than the NFL replacement officials. The ref blew the goalie interference call. There was no interference and Fedetenko was being hooked the whole time (that would have been the correct call). The idiots later sent Hartnell & Myers off when neither was guilty of a penalty (Myers coaches should have been in his ear- you never nail someone into your own goalie). Then they blew the whistle because they lost sight of the puck (it was in the net, not being frozen by Miller. If they were in proper position they wouldn’t have lost sight of it). When there is a scramble in front of the net the good refs get behind the net so they can see what’s going on, not stand over in the corner and blow the whistle because they can’t see it. The Flyers have a lot of work to do, but not as much as the refs. Today proved they aren’t in game shape.

  6. lordfletcher - Jan 20, 2013 at 7:06 PM

    it’s been one game. let’s play 7 before we make in depth predictions

    -Wild fan

  7. thedavesiknowiknow - Jan 21, 2013 at 2:16 AM

    With all due respect to Vanek’s night- anyone else notice how good Hodgson looked?

  8. buffalomafia - Jan 21, 2013 at 6:53 AM

    Easy guys! It’s only one game & the Sabres are only playing conference games!

  9. kgun80 - Jan 21, 2013 at 9:54 AM

    Waaahhh!! Waaahhhh!! Shut up Flyers fans no one wants to hear you whine about the Refs.. You tried to run the same game plan that you always run against the Sabers.. And they turned it on you! You got out hit and treated like the punks you are..with the grit Buffalo has added in the offseason teams will have to think twice when running our players!! Guys like Stafford may not win fights but they make a statement to teams like Philly that there will be repercussions for your cheap shots!!

  10. bhawksrule - Jan 21, 2013 at 1:45 PM

    Open net goals shouldn’t count towards a players stats… though he did have a good night I guess with 4 pts

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