Vanek has three goals, two assists and Sabres beat Bruins 7-4AP Photo
Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller stretches to make a save as Boston Bruins center Gregory Campbell hovers behind during the second period in Boston,Thursday.
BOSTON — Thomas Vanek had three goals and two assists, setting up the tiebreaking score with 13:06 left in the third period, to lead the Buffalo Sabres to a 7-4 victory over the Boston Bruins on Thursday night.
Vanek opened the scoring 98 seconds into the game, then had a goal and an assist to tie it after Boston took a 3-1 lead in the second. The Bruins went up 4-3 in the third before Alexander Sulzer tied it on a wrister from the faceoff circle, and then Vanek helped give Buffalo the lead when he kept the puck in the zone, faked a shot and slid it over to Cody Hodgson for the game-winner.
Ryan Miller made 38 saves for Buffalo, which ended a four-game winless streak. Tuukka Rask stopped 25 shots for the Bruins.
Vanek picked up his eight career hat trick with 1:31 left to play. And he was trailing the play — but did not get an assist — when Jason Pominville skated in for the empty-netter with 14 seconds left to clinch it.
Vanek, who entered the game tied for sixth in scoring in the league, now has 54 points in 46 career games against the Bruins.
Brad Marchand scored two goals and Rich Peverley and David Krejci had one apiece for Boston, which had points in its first six games since Bobby Orr led the Bruins to a 5-0-1 mark in 1970-71. A win would have equaled the best start in franchise history.
Vanek gave the Sabres the lead after a scoreless first period, but Boston came back with three straight goals to open a 3-1 lead. The Sabres tied it again, thanks in part to a 5-on-3 power play when Zdeno Chara and Milan Lucic were both sent off for penalties.
Midway through the two-man advantage, Vanek deflected a pass from Christian Ehrhoff into the net. Ninety-three seconds later, Vanek was posted up in front of the net when he was flattened by Boston’s Andrew Ference; even as Vanek was falling to the ice, he managed to pass the puck across the slot to Tyler Ennis for the tying goal.
Krejci gave Boston the lead early in the third, but Sulzer tied it 4-4 less than a minute later and Hodgson added the go-ahead goal with 13 minutes left.
Notes: As part of their efforts to apologize to the fans for the lockout of the players, the Bruins gave away 134,000 concession items during home games in January, three per fan per game. That included 36,111 fountain sodas, 27,364 hot dogs and 19,472 boxes of popcorn. ... Lane MacDermid, a fourth-round pick in 2009, made his season debut tonight. He took the place of Chris Bourque, who was a healthy scratch. ... Bruins forward Shawn Thornton left the game after a first-period fight with John Scott and did not return.
Pens 3, Rangers 0
NEW YORK — Tomas Vokoun stopped 28 shots for his 49th NHL shutout, and the Pittsburgh Penguins scored on the first shot of the first and third periods in a 3-0 victory over the New York Rangers on Thursday night.
Evgeni Malkin gave the Penguins the lead just 1:24 in, James Neal added a power-play goal 28 seconds into the third — after another costly too many men on the ice penalty for the Rangers — and Simon Despres netted his second NHL goal to give Pittsburgh (4-3) its second win in five games.
Malkin added an assist, as did captain Sidney Crosby, on Neal’s goal. Despres came out of the penalty box to score at 10:23 of the third right after Rangers defenseman Anton Stralman hit the post at the other end.
Pittsburgh is winless at home but 4-1 on the road. The Penguins have two wins in New York this season, one fewer than the host Rangers, who had won three of four overall.
Vokoun was steady throughout in earning his 289th NHL victory, but wasn’t challenged much by the Rangers (3-4), who have scored two goals or fewer in four games. He was bailed out twice in the third by drives that struck posts behind him.
New York struggled to generate offense in its first game without captain Ryan Callahan, expected to be sidelined 10-14 games by a shoulder injury sustained Tuesday in a win against Philadelphia.
Vokoun, who relieved goalie Marc-Andre Fleury in Pittsburgh’s 4-1 loss to the New York Islanders on Tuesday, got another start against the Rangers. Vokoun (2-1) has split time with Fleury and has played in four games. His only wins this season have come at Madison Square Garden.
The Penguins jumped on the Rangers early, just as they did in New York’s home opener on Jan. 20 when Pittsburgh chased goalie Henrik Lundqvist from the net.
Malkin fired a drive from the lower portion of the right circle that got through a screen and beat the surprised Lundqvist at 1:24. Pittsburgh scored just 1:48 into the previous matchup — the first of three first-period goals en route to a 6-3 victory.
Lundqvist, who has played in every game this season, made 26 saves.
Play was disjointed in the second period and filled with numerous offsides and icing calls along with a variety of penalties on each side. The Rangers were whistled for four penalties, including the too many men call that carried over into the third period.
New York coach John Tortorella fumed Tuesday after Carl Hagelin jumped onto the ice early, a penalty that led directly to Philadelphia’s only goal in the Rangers’ 2-1 win. Tortorella was no happier after this one.
The call came right after the Rangers managed to keep their deficit at one goal when Lundqvist deflected away a drive by Crosby on a breakaway with 50 seconds left in the middle period.
Crosby was already aggravated in the opening minute of the second when he was knocked down after the whistle by defenseman Dan Girardi, who was called for roughing.
The Rangers showed aggressiveness several times after play was stopped, including in the first when Marc Staal engaged in a scuffle behind the New York net with Malkin. Both players were sent off for roughing, a similar situation to Tuesday when Callahan was injured in a tussle with Max Talbot.
NOTES: Vokoun, a 14-year veteran, is the only NHL goalie with at least four shutouts each season since 2005-06. ... Rangers D Matt Gilroy made his season debut, taking the lineup spot created by Callahan’s injury. ... Pittsburgh claimed LW Zach Boychuk off waivers from the Carolina Hurricanes. He is expected to join the team on Friday. ... D Robert Bortuzzo made his season debut for Pittsburgh. D Ben Lovejoy sat out. ... The Rangers were 0 for 4 on the power play and are 3 for 28 this season.
Blues 4, Blue Jackets 1
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Barret Jackman, Patrik Berglund and Vladimir Tarasenko each scored in the opening 14 minutes, Brian Elliott made 24 saves and the St. Louis Blues won their fourth straight game with a 4-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday night.
David Backes, who also had an assist, added an empty-netter. T.J. Oshie had two assists.
Derick Brassard scored for Columbus, which played on even terms over the final 46 minutes but couldn’t overcome the early blitz. Steve Mason, who came on in relief of Sergei Bobrovsky after the early goals, stopped all 14 shots he faced.
The Blues took command and locked up the two points before a crowd of 11,155 could settle into its seats.
Just 2:19 in, Jackman almost lackadaisically wristed the puck on net from the boards near the blue line. It sailed past Jamie Langenbrunner and defenseman Tim Erixon, playing his first game for the Blue Jackets, who were tangled near the left hash. It continued on past a surprised Bobrovsky for Jackman’s second of the year.
It was the third time that Bobrovsky, who has been solid in net most of this young season, has been victimized for a soft goal in the first minutes of the game.
St. Louis wasn’t done.
The Blues went on a power play at the 10:06 mark when Vinny Prospal was called for a high stick — and 17 seconds later the puck was in the net again. This time Berglund took a drop pass from Oshie and rocketed a hard shot from the top of the left circle for his fourth of the season.
Soon after, Tarasenko took a pass from Alexander Steen, was hit by defensive James Wisniewski near the right hash and before hitting the ice got enough stick on the puck to get it past Bobrovski.
Tarasenko has been a revelation so far for the Blues, scoring five goals to go with four assists in seven games. He was the Blues’ first-round pick, 16th overall, in the 2010 draft and has been brilliant in his debut season, leading all NHL rookies in goals.
That was it for Bobrovsky, who was replaced by Mason after facing just 11 shots.
The Blue Jackets came out harder in the second period, pulling to 3-1 on Derick Brassard’s power-play goal — in between a series of fights. After Brassard lifted a high wrister for his first goal, there were two fights at once that resulted a Columbus power play.
But after building the early lead, the Blues were content to play solidly and not take any chances, while Columbus could never get the goal to draw within one.
NOTES: The game was the second of a franchise record-tying six-game homestand for Columbus. ... St. Louis LW Andy McDonald played despite a lower-body injury. He hit the side of the net on a wide-open empty-netter in the final minute, provoking some jeers from the crowd. ... The Blues opened a brief two-game, back-to-back road trip. They play at Detroit on Friday night. ... Blue Jackets winger Jonathan Audy-Marchessault made his NHL debut. ... The Blues came in leading the league in fewest shots allowed per game at 19.5. The Blue Jackets had 25.
Maple Leafs 3, Capitals 2
TORONTO — Nikolai Kulemin and Matt Frattin scored third-period goals to give the Toronto Maple Leafs their first home win of the season with a 3-2 comeback victory over the Washington Capitals on Thursday night.
Kulemin tied it 2-all at 7:40 of the third, poking in a puck that squeezed through Michal Neuvirth’s legs following Michael Kostka’s shot from the point. As the Washington goalie tried in vain to squeeze his pads, Kulemin reached behind and nudged the puck in for his first of the year.
Frattin made it 3-2, capping a nice passing play with Nazem Kadri at 9:53 by tapping in the puck for his fourth goal — and sixth point — in four games.
Jamison misses deadline
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — A league official has told The Associated Press that the prospective owner of the Phoenix Coyotes is unable to complete his purchase of the team before a lease agreement deal with the City of Glendale expires.
Greg Jamison will issue a statement saying he can’t meet the deadline, but still hopes to buy the team, the official said on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to discuss the situation.
Jamison had until midnight Thursday to complete his purchase of the Coyotes from the NHL under terms of a 20-year, $308 million lease agreement with Glendale for Jobing.com Arena.
New Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers has said he will not extend the lease deal, opening up the possibility of other potential bidders to compete with Jamison to buy the team.MORE IN Sports WireCHICAGO — Kris Bryant had such a Chicago Cubs-like start to his major league career. Full StoryHOUSTON — Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia met with Josh Hamilton this week for the first... Full Story
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