Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Braydon Coburn and goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov, of Russia, react after a goal by Buffalo Sabres as Sabres Thomas Vanek,right, of Austria, celebrates during the first period of an NHL season opener hockey game in Buffalo, N.Y., Sunday, Jan. 20, 2013. (AP Photo/Gary Wiepert)
Sabres Win First Game Of Shortened Season
Buffalo, NY (WBEN) The 119 day, NHL lockout seemed to be ancient history Sunday as the Buffalo Sabres won their opener 5-2 over the Philadelphia Flyers at First Niagara Center. Thomas Vanek was the star of the day with a pair of goals and three assists while newcomer Steve Ott lit the lamp in his first game as a Sabre.
Buffalo got things going in the first period as Ott netted his aforementioned goal on the power play to give Buffalo a 1-0 lead after one period of play.
The Flyers battled back in the second to take a 2-1 lead with goals from Sean Couturier and Claude Giroux but Buffalo was able to even things before intermission thanks to Vanek’s first goal of the game, a breakaway tally, beating Philadelphia goaltender, Ilya Bryzgalov.
In the third period, defenseman, Tyler Myers got the eventual game winner as he beat Bryzgalov on the power play. Vanek broke to the net a few moments later; his rebound was gobbled up by Cody Hodgson to give the Sabres a two-goal lead. Vanek would get his second goal in the final minute of play as he skated in alone on the empty net after getting a pass from Jason Pominville.
Before the game, Sabres’ players and even owner, Terry Pegula greeted fans in the arena atrium, welcoming them back after the lockout which has shortened the season to 48 games.
Hall of Fame broadcaster and long-time Sabres play by play man, Rick Jeanneret was a pre-game scratch because of illness. The team says he hopes to return to work in the next few days. The Sabres will travel to Toronto to face the Maple Leafs Monday night.