Opposing Locker Room: Vanek Unstoppable
Thomas Vanek tallies five points in Sabres 7-4 win, continues dominance vs B's
BostonBruins.com — Thomas Vanek put it simply, saying there was no rhyme or reason for his gaudy career numbers against the Boston Bruins.
“I don’t know; it’s statistics,” Vanek said, when asked what makes him so lethal agains the B’s. “You can call them what you want, but they’re just that. For us, this was a big win.”
The Sabres marched into TD Garden, and ended a four-game losing steak, dealing the Bruins their first regulation loss and first home loss of the season with a 7-4 win. It also marked the first time Buffalo had earned a victory in the B's home barn since March 10, 2011.
For Vanek, it was just another day against his Northeast Division rivals.
The Sabres alternate captain tallied his eighth career hat trick, and added two assists to complete a five-point night. In 46 career games against Boston, Vanek has now posted a line of 28-26=54. Afterward, he simply called it a team effort opposite a difficult team to play against in the Bruins.
“It was hard work; nothing came easy, and that’s a good team over there,” said Vanek. “Again, we just took the chances we had, and we buried them.
“They had a lot of chances, and Ryan [Miller] was huge for us.”
Amid 11 combined goals scored, Miller posted 38 saves, keeping the Sabres afloat, especially when the Bruins jumped out to a 3-1 lead midway through the second frame.
With the deficit still at two goals, Buffalo found themselves on a 5-on-3 power play after coincidental minors to Milan Lucic and Zdeno Chara. Vanek scored his second goal of the game to bring the Sabres within one.
“Well, I think the most important one was the one to make it 3-2,” Vanek said, recalling his eighth career hat trick. “Five-on-three, you need to score. We talked about that, and we did. It gave our team a boost.”
For the Sabres, the task coming in was to end an early season skid, and to do so against a physical Bruins team whom the Sabres have played very close the past few seasons.
“They’re a team that is really good defensively, doesn’t give up many opportunities, and they’re really good offensively as well,” said Buffalo captain Jason Pominville. “I think in the past, we’ve had some run-and-gun games with them where the score was 6-5, and even high scores like tonight.
“I don’t know what the reason is behind it, but I think if you look on our side we were happy to get the win. But, I think if you ask both coaches, they would probably want to lock it in a little bit more defensively.”
The task was not made easier for the Sabres playing against the top team in the East - a team that had yet to show a blemish on its home-ice record.
“It’s huge for us,” Pominville said. “Not only because they hadn’t lost at home, but they’re always a top team in our conference and our division.
“We were going through a little bit of a tough time, it was nice to get a win and put in a full 60-minute effort. It was good to be rewarded that way.”