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)

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


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.

Measure of revenge? Red Wings bottle Lightning

1 Comment

In some ways, it really felt like their first-round series.

For all the talent on both ends of the rink with the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning, each squad can really smother opponents defensively when things go that way.

Through two periods, the two teams were very quiet. Things really picked up when Justin Abdelkader unleashed a big hit, a moment that injected enough life into the proceedings for the Red Wings to eventually build a 3-1 win.

Maybe they’re slipping under the radar a bit compared to previous iterations of the team, but it’s interesting that the Red Wings are now undefeated in three games.

They’ve been impressive at times, too, outscoring opponents by a combined score of 11-4.

Call it a refreshing time after Mike Babcock or merely carryover from a subtly solid run last season, but either way, the Red Wings may just be able to keep up their end of a brewing rivalry.

Hands of gold: Connor McDavid scores his first NHL goal


Taking three games to score your first NHL goal isn’t a big deal, unless you’re someone like Connor McDavid.

The mega-hyped wunderkind must feel relieved to finally find the net, as he tied tonight’s Edmonton Oilers – Dallas Stars skirmish with a 2-2 deflection goal, which you can watch above this post’s headline.

To no surprise, there were plenty of reactions, including Pierre LeBrun’s tweet (which inspired part of this headline).

Of course, there were the inevitable Wayne Gretzky comparisons:

Interesting thing you might not consider: Stars fans will have to stomach this one even more frequently than that time Patrik Stefan biffed that empty-netter (also against the Oilers):

McDavid may have also delivered his first questionable check, too: