It didn't take long for the two sides to butt heads. John Scott and Shawn Thornton went at it just 2:53 into the opening frame, a scrap that didn't last long but was enough to keep Thornton off the ice for the remainder of the game. Vanek finally opened the scoring 1:39 into the 2nd period, finishing off a 2-on-1 break with Cody Hodgson. The Bruins then fired back, rattling off three goals in succession. Rich Peverley found the net to make it a 1-1 game and Brad Marchand scored twice in the span of 3:11 to put Boston ahead 3-1.
Buffalo battled back, however, and pulled within one on Vanek's second of the night. The goal came during a 5-on-3 opportunity with both Milan Lucic and Zdeno Chara in the box. Vanek got it front of a Christian Ehrhoff shot and deflected it past Rask to make the score 3-2. The tying goal came just about a minute and a half later, Vanek made a diving pass across the crease to Tyler Ennis who snapped a shot into an open net.
The Bruins regained the lead 4-3 early in the third on David Krejci's second of the season, but Alexander Sulzer tied it less than a minute later. Mikhail Grigorenko fed a wide-open Sulzer from the far faceoff circle and the Buffalo defenseman converted. Later in the third, Vanek got a 2-on-1 break going by banking a pass to himself off the boards. Vanek moved in, faked a shot near the faceoff dot, and whipped a pass over to Hodgson who popped the puck into the net, putting the Sabres back in front 5-4.
Vanek's third goal and fifth point of the evening came on another odd-man rush. After shaking Dennis Seidenberg, Vanek was left completely alone in front of Rask. Standing in front of the crease, he deked the Boston goaltender with a couple of nifty moves and lifted a shot into the net, putting Buffalo up 6-4 with 1:31 to play. Jason Pominville added an empty netter in the final minute, part of a three-point night for the Sabres captain. Hodgson also finished with three points.
The Sabres return to action Saturday afternoon at the Bell Centre against the Montreal Canadiens at 2 p.m.. Hear the call on WGR and the Sabres Radio Network.
2:53 - BOS - Shawn Thornton (5 min., fighting)
2:53 - BUF - John Scott (5 min., fighting)
8:29 - BUF - Jordan Leopold (2 min., slashing)
15:36 - BUF - John Scott (2 min., elbowing)
1:39 - BUF - Thomas Vanek (4) (Cody Hodgson, Jason Pominville)
5:12 - BOS - Rich Peverley (1) (Daniel Paille, Chris Kelly)
7:43 - BOS - Brad Marchand (4) (Patrice Bergeron)
10:54 - BOS - Brad Marchand (5) (Patrice Bergeron, Tyler Seguin)
16:46 - BUF - Thomas Vanek (PPG) (5) (Christian Ehrhoff, Tyler Myers)
18:19 - BUF - Tyler Ennis (2) (Thomas Vanek, Marcus Foligno)
5:32 - BOS - Rich Peverley (2 min., cross checking)
15:45 - BOS - Milan Lucic (2 min., boarding)
1:45 - BOS - David Krejci (2) (Nathan Horton)
2:28 - BUF - Alexander Sulzer (1) (Mikhail Grigorenko, Jochen Hecht)
6:54 - BUF - Cody Hodgson (4) (Thomas Vanek, Jason Pominville)
18:29 - BUF - Thomas Vanek (6) (Cody Hodgson, Mike Weber)
19:46 - BUF - Jason Pominville (EN) (5) (Unassisted)
11:25 - BUF - Tyler Myers (4 min. double minor, high sticking)
11:56 - BOS - Dennis Seidenberg (2 min., tripping)
BUF - Ryan Miller (38 saves, 42 shots)
BOS - Tuukka Rask (25 saves, 31 shots)
BUF - 1 of 3
BOS - 0 of 4
1.) Thomas Vanek (3 G, 2 A)
2.) Brad Marchand (2 G, 0 A)
3.) Ryan Miller (38 saves)