Vanek, Sabres blast Bruins
Vanek delivered a hat trick and two assists and linemates Jason Pominville and Cody Hodgson totaled six points between them as the Sabres, 0-3-1 in their last four games, handed the Bruins their first regulation loss of the lockout-delayed season. Boston, dropping to 5-1-1, also suffered its first home loss in five games.
Vanek, who has 54 points in 46 career games against Boston, set up Hodgson for the go-ahead goal at 6:54 of the third period and then closed out his eighth career hat trick late the scoring late before Pominville hit the empty net.
Tyler Ennis and Alexander Sulzer also beat a virtually unaided Tuukka Rask for the Sabres, who got big saves from Ryan Miller all night.
Brad Marchand scored twice for the Bruins, who also got goals from Rich Peverley and David Krejci.
The Bruins lost three forwards during the game. Patrice Bergeron, who had two assists, left early in the third period with an apparent right shoulder injury, but returned. Shawn Thornton was lost in an early fight; and Daniel Paille was cut by a Tyler Myers high stick in the third period.
Thornton, answering the call to battle the much-larger John Scott after the Sabres made it clear they had added more muscle during the offseason, was pummeled to the ice by Scott as the pair lined up for their first faceoff, 2:50 into the game.
Both went to the penalty box but when Thornton came out he went right to the dressing room and didn't return. He never got a punch off in the fight.
After Vanek gave the Sabres a 1-0 lead the Bruins scored three goals in a 5:42 span to take a 3-1 lead.
Peverley tied the game with a goal that required patience. He had all kinds of time in front of the net but waited for an opening through the bodies and beat Miller at 5:12. Marchand then scored on a solo effort at 7:43 before taking a pass from Bergeron and getting another one through Miller, this one at 10:54.
Milan Lucic and Chara then took penalties on the same play to leave the Bruins two men down for two minutes. Vanek tipped home a Christian Ehrhoff shot a minute into the power play. The play was reviewed but Vanek clearly tipped the puck with his stick and then between his own legs.
A great shift by the Sabres ended with Vanek making an acrobatic pass to Ennis for his second goal of the year just 1:33 later.
The teams traded early third-period goals 43 seconds apart. Krejci scored at 1:45, but Sulzer then tied it right back up at 4-4.
Vanek then went around Johnny Boychuk and set up Hodgson at 6:54.