NHL on NBC: Sabres boast NHL points leader but Penguins’ Crosby not far behind

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The National Hockey League’s leading scorer will take to the stage when the Buffalo Sabres and Pittsburgh Penguins meet Sunday.

And no, it’s not Sidney Crosby, although that may very well be the case at the end of tomorrow’s NHL on NBC game.

Thomas Vanek leads the league in scoring right now with 11 goals and 23 points in 14 games. Crosby is part of a four-player log jam at 21 points, accrued over 15 games.

“He has such a quick release, good shot, always in the right spot it seems around the net,” Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury told reporters about Vanek.

“Definitely a guy we have to keep an eye on.”

The Sabres come in to Sunday’s match-up with a 4-2 win over the Boston Bruins under their belts from Friday night. It’s a very modest one-game streak, and Buffalo will go up against the fourth best team in the Eastern Conference.

There’s a chance the Penguins could be atop the conference by the end of tomorrow.

“We know that they’re playing well,” Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff told the Buffalo News.

“They’ve probably got as much team speed as Boston. I think the depth of their lineup is just as deep as Boston. Maybe the Boston defenders have a slight edge when it comes to the back end, but I think overall they’re one of the teams that you’re going to have to deal with if you want to get to the top in the East.”

Welcome back, Babs: Red Wings chase Bernier

Mike Babcock
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Mike Babcock admitted that there might be a painful transformation as he tries to fix the Toronto Maple Leafs.

His old friends made that abundantly, painfully clear on Friday.

As of this writing, the Detroit Red Wings are up 4-0 on the Buds. Justin Abdelkader just completed a hat trick with James Reimer in net, so the subplot isn’t just about Jonathan Bernier having another tough start.

The big story might just be Detroit’s varied new line of Abdelkader, Dylan Larkin (who scored his first career goal) and Henrik Zetterberg. At the moment, they’ve combined for seven points.

This post will be updated if Detroit’s tribute video to Babcock surfaces.

Really, though, this beating has been about as ugly as this blanket so far.

Blue Jackets’ Wennberg done for night with upper-body injury

Alexander Wennberg, Jay Bouwmeester
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It wouldn’t be a regular season game without a Columbus Blue Jackets injury, right?

OK, the Blue Jackets hope that 2015-16 looks different from the medically challenged mess of last season, but at least one player is banged up tonight.

Alexander Wennberg suffered an upper-body injury and won’t return on Friday, as the team noted.

There’s no word yet regarding how serious the issue might be. It looks like he might have suffered an injury thanks to a Chris Kreider check:

Naturally, the Blue Jackets must hope that this doesn’t begin another trend.