(Thursday, January 31st)
Final Score: Buffalo 7, Boston 4
Boston, MA (Sports Network) - Thomas Vanek tallied a hat trick and two assists, leading the Buffalo Sabres to a thrilling 7-4 victory over the Boston Bruins at TD Garden.
"Pucks are going in right now for me," Vanek said. "There's going to be stretches where nothing goes my way. So you like it right now, but you know it's going to head the other way."
Cody Hodgson added a goal and two assists for the Sabres, who snapped a four- game losing skid thanks to scoring four times in the final 20 minutes. Alex Sulzer, Tyler Ennis and Jason Pominville also lit the lamp, while Ryan Miller made 38 saves.
Brad Marchand scored twice, Rich Peverley and David Krejci once each for the Bruins, who suffered their first regulation loss of the season.
Tuukka Rask was tagged for six goals on 31 shots in defeat, as Boston surrendered its most goals in one game thus far in 2013.
"We had lots of scoring chances, we had lots of shots...when we score four goals, we usually win," said Bruins head coach Claude Julien. (It was) uncharacteristic of our hockey club. "We'll make some corrections tomorrow, and try and solidify our defensive play again."
Boston took a 4-3 lead at 1:45 of the third on a wrister from Krejci, but Sulzer equalized only 43 seconds later on his floater from the right circle.
Vanek then dished off to Hodgson for a successful one-timer on the left side and Buffalo led 5-4 with less than seven minutes gone.
Miller made several key saves through the midway point of the final period, and Rask was spared trouble with just under four minutes left when Ennis -- who was left alone in front -- couldn't get a handle on the puck despite several stick fakes.
Vanek finished off his trifecta by swooping in on a 2-on-0 break, then outwaiting Rask and a sliding Peverley after a pass from Hodgson, and scoring on a backhander with 1:31 remaining for a 6-4 lead.
Rask was pulled for an extra skater shortly thereafter, and Pominville hit the empty net.
"We made some mistakes & didn't cover for it," offered Bruins captain Zdeno Chara as his team surrendered the most goals in a game decided in regulation since an 8-2 loss against Toronto in March of 2008.
Following a scoreless first period which saw the hosts misfire on two power plays, Vanek ripped a Hodgson pass by Rask from the left circle at 1:38 of the second.
"It was pretty easy. Just get open and wait for the puck," Hodgson said about playing on a line with Vanek and Pominville. "They battle hard on every puck and we played well together.
Peverley tied the game at 5:12, lifting a shot over traffic and a prone Miller from the edge of the right circle, and Marchand snaked his way through the Buffalo zone and scored on a backhand to make it 2-1 at 7:43.
Marchand slipped one home at 10:54 for a 3-1 Bruins edge, capping almost a minute of pressure along with linemates Tyler Seguin and Patrice Bergeron.
Vanek's deflection from the slot off a Christian Ehrhoff pass on a 5-on-3 power play pulled the visitors within one, and Ennis beat Rask from the right side at even strength with 1:41 to go for a 3-3 deadlock.
Vanek upped his career mark against Boston to 28 goals and 26 assists in 46 games ... The Austrian winger posted the 41st multi-goal effort of his career and eighth career hat trick, his first since Apr. 5, 2011 against the Tampa Bay Lighting ... Thursday was also his second five-point performance of the shortened season, after a two-goal, three-assist effort in a 5-2 win over Philadelphia in Buffalo's season opener on Jan. 20 ... Miller improved to 8-5-3 lifetime in 17 games at Boston ... Boston won four of six from Buffalo last season and all three at home ... The Sabres' last win in Boston occurred on Mar. 10, 2011 (4-3 OT).
01/31 22:59:38 ET