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Vanek’s unreal start: 10 goals, 21 points in just 10 games

Feb 8, 2013, 8:01 AM EDT

BUFFALO, NY - FEBRUARY 07: Thomas Vanek #26 of the Buffalo Sabres celebrates after scoring a shootout goal against Peter Budaj #30 of the Montreal Canadiens on February 7, 2013 at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo, New York. Buffalo defeated Montreal, 4-3, in an overtime shootout. (Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images) Getty Images

The Buffalo Sabres haven’t been great this season, but what success they have had, they owe to Thomas Vanek.

Case in point: Down 4-2 midway through the third period of Thursday’s contest against the Montreal Canadiens, Vanek netted back-to-back goals, including one with just 1.9 seconds left in regulation time to tie the game.

Just for good measure, the 29-year-old forward also found the back of the net again in the shootout to lead Buffalo to a 5-4 victory over the Canadiens.

“It’s great,” Vanek said. “It means we get to not go home all frustrated tonight. Enjoy the win. Probably going to sleep better. Wake up tomorrow and go for the next one.”

With 10 games under his belt this season, Vanek now leads the league with 10 goals and 21 points.

Vanek has gotten off to a hot starts before, but never to this extreme. The closest he came occurred last season when he scored eight goals and 15 points in his first 10 contests. Vanek stayed sharp for three months before hitting a rough patch.

Of course, with the condensed schedule, a three-month strong run will count for a lot more in 2013.

  1. greej1938l - Feb 8, 2013 at 8:15 AM

    Pretty sure….its real?

  2. chasestern - Feb 8, 2013 at 8:29 AM

    21 in ten is nothing. How about 215 in 80?

    • davebabychreturns - Feb 8, 2013 at 10:26 AM

      Nobody is going to touch Gretzky. 50 in 39, 51 game points streak, 215 points as you said..

      The trouble is it’s ancient history – Gretzky’s 85-86 season was closer to Stan Mikita’s rookie season than it is to today.

      You can’t judge players like Vanek by the standards set in the 1980s, the game was vastly different in so many respects – coaching and strategy, equipment, conditioning.. most of those changes have hurt scoring rather than helped it.

      In 1985-86 the Vezina winner had a 3.32 goals against average, last year just two regular goaltenders had higher GAA than that, this year they are out of jobs. In 85-86 there were nearly 50 players who put up a point a game over at least 50 games, last year there were eight.

      It’s just so fundamentally different that comparisons across those eras are meaningless.

      • 19to77 - Feb 8, 2013 at 11:24 AM

        Call it heretical, but I think even Gretzky and Lemieux in their respective primes could only put up somewhere in the realm of 120-130 points in the modern NHL.

        Scoring goals is just much more difficult in every respect today – the goalies and their gear are bigger, their styles have evolved, the defensive strategies of the players in front have evolved, and everyone’s much more athletic than they were in the 80s.

      • davebabychreturns - Feb 8, 2013 at 12:08 PM

        Yeah – I just don’t know how you put a specific number on what they could have done.

        I am sure players with Lemieux’s size and skill and Gretzky’s ingenuity and vision would be dominant in virtually any era, but putting a number on that..

      • 19to77 - Feb 8, 2013 at 3:51 PM

        Heh, maybe don’t quote me on exact figures, but the point I was going for is that I don’t think any of the previous era’s superstars could have put up their numbers today. I think they’d probably project to relatively similar performances to the superstars of today.

  3. mobil4life - Feb 8, 2013 at 8:34 AM

    You’re an idiot

  4. hockeywithdrawal - Feb 8, 2013 at 8:54 AM

    I can’t believe they came back to win that game last night! Awesome.

  5. steelers4385 - Feb 8, 2013 at 8:56 AM

    What a man amongst boys.

  6. pone27 - Feb 8, 2013 at 9:23 AM

    2 words:

    Fantasy Buckets

    • mjasper24 - Feb 8, 2013 at 5:54 PM

      vanek game day bucket go boom.

  7. 19to77 - Feb 8, 2013 at 10:18 AM

    Jesus. What a beast. Shame the team around him can’t keep up. For all his phenomenal play, they’re off to a dismal start.

  8. Jack Bauer 24 - Feb 8, 2013 at 1:58 PM

    Its a shame that this player is stuck in the armpit of the united states playing for a bottom feeder franchise

    • duster1982 - Feb 8, 2013 at 3:21 PM

      ooooo a jab at Buffalo. How original!! Your gold star is in the mail, toolbox

      • Jack Bauer 24 - Feb 8, 2013 at 3:48 PM

        a jab that obviously struck a nerve , and then calling someone a toolbox? lol think up of a new insult, tool hasent been cool since the 1990’s

  9. kgun80 - Feb 8, 2013 at 4:32 PM

    @Jack Bauer 24
    Are you back again? Making inane comments and insulting people and the cities they call home.. Your are just an Internet tough guy. Now hurry up and answer before your mom comes in the basement and takes away your Internet privileges and your bong! Loser

  10. odj810 - Feb 10, 2013 at 11:52 AM

    It baffles me how chara can constantly shut down top players all the time. ovi kovalchuc ect. Vanek just dominates the bruins (against chara mostly) always has.

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