There is little doubt in the minds of Buffalo Sabres fans of who the offensive leader on this team is, and Thomas Vanek proved it again last night.
With his eighth career hat trick, and two assists, he now has two five point games in the teams first seven contests. As reported on WGR550 this morning Vanek is the first person to accomplish that since Mario Lemieux did it in 1992-1993. Technically Vanek did it in six games as he did not dress against the Washington Capitals.
It wasn’t long after the game ended that I started to get votes for the game puck via text and email amongst the staff here at Sabrenoise.com. The first coming in from Andrew:
Tonight’s game puck is blatantly obvious, the between the legs deflection goal, the self pass off the boards to set up Cody Hodgson. Then he makes Tuuka Rask look like a fool on his hat trick goal. Nothing more needs to be said. AND…the falling pass to Ennis. Apparently there was more to be said.
— Chris Chodaczek (@Beerman44256) February 1, 2013
The lazy Vanek jokes were out in full force last night – and while they are funny every night, when he is stomping an offensive mudhole in the chest of our opponent, they are even funnier.
— Kat Zambon (@KZambon) February 1, 2013
Rich was supportive of Vanek as the game puck winner, but also wanted to make the case for Ryan Miller. Buffalo was having problems clearing the puck out of their zone all night long, and with all of the breakdowns and downright stupid plays by some players, it’s a miracle Boston didn’t score 7-8 goals last night. Miller really slammed the door on Boston late in the third with the Sabres clinging to a one goal lead. Vanek was incredible, but without Miller’s solid first and third, even Vanek’s five points might not have been enough. Isn’t that what you ask your goaltender to do, especially if you want him to be considered among the best of the best? Ryan Miller was doing his job last night, just as we need him to. Nothing extraordinary about that. Sorry Mr. Miller, no game puck for these actions.
Thomas Vanek has a point in all six games he’s played, two 5-point games and one hat trick. He has 15 points this season.
— Dan Rosen (@drosennhl) February 1, 2013
Thomas Vanek now leads the NHL in points with 15 – that is better than two points per game. The best part about it was the humble nature in which Vanek portrayed himself after the game.
Pucks are going in right now for me, there’s going to be stretches where nothing goes. So you like it right now, but you know it’s going to head the other way. –Thomas Vanek
At some point this season it will go the other way, but if it doesn’t Thomas Vanek is going to make it one hell of a season. Eve the Boston fans that I speak to were amazed at his play last night. CC weighs in here with her opinion on the unanimous vote for Vanek, netting the hat-trick and putting up 5 big points in the win over the nasty Boston Bruins. Vanek has been a beast this season and arguably our MVP. Vanek seems to have re-gained his scoring touch again hopefully he keeps up his play and the other lines pick it up.
The first email I received from a Bruins fan after their first loss to the Buffalo Sabres at home since January 20011 read:
It’s not often we get our heads so handily given to us. He [Vanek] had an amazing game, and just because he isn’t wearing the jersey I like, I won’t take that away from him.
Here’s the recap of Thomas Vanek’s hat trick in case you missed it. He opened the scoring with a rifle, he started the comeback with a deflection, and he left Rask wondering what his name was when he sealed the deal for the Buffalo Sabres.