Thomas Vanek delivers five points as Sabres down Flyers
Buffalo, NY, United States (4E Sports) – Thomas Vanek accounted for a career-high five points to lead the Buffalo Sabres to a 5-2 season-opening triumph over the Philadelphia Flyers Sunday at First Niagara Center.
Vanek buried two goals and added three assists to become the first NHL player to record five points in a season opener since Steven Reinprecht of the Phoenix Coyotes scored a goal and issued four assists against the New York Islanders in 2006.
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.
The Sabres had three power play goals, one each from Vanek, Tyler Myers and Steve Ott, while Cody Hodgson added an insurance goal in the third.
Ryan Miller had 27 saves while Jason Pominville had three assists for the Sabres, who are now 24-14-4 in season openers.
Ott opened the game with a power-play goal from assists by Pominville and Vanek at the 11:07 mark of the first period.
However, Philadelphia struck twice early in the second with second-year center Sean Couturier deflecting a pass from Kurtis Foster past Miller.
New captain Claude Giroux added the Flyers’ second goal at the 4:57 of the second but Vanek tied the game with the team’s second power-play marker of the game.
Myers put the Sabres ahead with a power play goal past defenseman Kimmo Timonen and goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov with 5:03 remaining in the third period.
Hodgson, in his first full season with the Sabres, added an insurance goal just 76 seconds later before Vanek sealed the win with an empty-net tally.
Bryzgalov had 36 saves for the Flyers, who dropped to 0-2.