Tonawanda News — BOSTON — Thomas Vanek stood in front of the Boston net, his back to the goal, as long as he could before a hit from Andrew Ference sent him flying.
Even as he fell, he got enough on the puck to set up Tyler Ennis for a goal.
“That pass to Ennis was really second to none,” Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said Thursday night after Vanek had his second five-point game of the abbreviated season to lead Buffalo to a 7-4 victory over Boston. “It’s hard to say it isn’t his best stretch.”
Vanek had three goals and two assists, setting up the tiebreaking score with 13:06 left in the third period and picking up his eighth career hat trick with 91 seconds to play to help the Sabres end a four-game winless streak. It was Vanek’s second career five-point game; the first came in the season opener on Jan. 20.
“Pucks are going in right now for me,” he said. “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.”
Ryan Miller made 38 saves for Buffalo, and Tuukka Rask stopped 25 shots for the Bruins. Brad Marchand scored two goals and Rich Peverley and David Krejci had one apiece for the Bruins, which had points in its first six games since Bobby Orr led them to a 5-0-1 mark in 1970-71.
A win would have equaled the best start in franchise history.
“We had a great start,” forward Milan Lucic said. “You’re bound to lose at some point.”
Vanek opened the scoring 98 seconds into the second period, then had another after Boston scored three times in under six minutes in the second. Ninety-three seconds after making it a 3-2 game, Vanek made a pass to Ennis as he went sprawling to the ice.