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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.

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