Vanek, power play propel Sabres past Philadelphia | Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:52 AM

The Buffalo Sabres were a middle of the pack team on the power play in 2011-12, but they looked like an elite bunch with the extra man Sunday.

Thomas Vanek had five points and Tyler Myers scored Buffalo's third power-play goal of the afternoon late in the third period to propel the Sabres past the Philadelphia Flyers 5-2 at First Niagara Center.

Myers' shot from near the left point ricocheted off Philadelphia defenseman Kimmo Timonen and past goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov with 5:03 left in the third period of Buffalo's season-opening contest, breaking a 2-2 tie.

Cody Hodgson, in his first full season with the Sabres and playing between Vanek and Jason Pominville, added an insurance goal just 76 seconds later. With Myers and Philadelphia's Scott Hartnell in the box, Hodgson put the rebound of a Vanek breakaway chance past Bryzgalov. Vanek sealed the victory with an empty-net tally with 47.4 seconds left.

Pominville finished with three assists.

“That line was the difference,” coach Lindy Ruff said. “Van was fabulous, [Hodgson] was terrific and Pommer was right somewhere between those two. We look at those guys as being our top line that can push us to that next level.

It appeared as though Philadelphia might have gotten one back when the scored was still 4-2 with Bryzgalov on the bench for an extra attacker, but play was whistled dead as the puck was squirting past a crowd in the Buffalo crease and into the Sabres' net. Vanek's second goal of the game came seconds later.

“It’s a lot of luck when you get that many points,” Vanek, who had the most points in a game by a Buffalo player in five years, told the Buffalo News. “I was fortunate every pass I made went in, and when I scored, I scored. You won’t have many of those nights. You enjoy it, you like the win and you move on.”

The loss capped a lost weekend for the Flyers, who were beaten 3-1 at home by Pittsburgh on Saturday.

''The bounces aren't going our way right now,'' new captain Claude Giroux said. ''It's not the start that we're looking for, two losses in a row. But we'll just have to fight through it and come back."

One thing the Flyers have to fix is the penalty-killing. After allowing Pittsburgh to score twice in three tries on Saturday, Philadelphia surrendered three power-play goals on six chances to the Sabres.

"The penalty-kill right now, we've got to continue to look at it and work at it," coach Peter Laviolette said. "Every day is a new opportunity. But we've got to get on track here and get a win in the column and get moving in the right direction."

Sabres forward Steve Ott, acquired from Dallas during the summer, needed a little more than 11 minutes to provide an impact for his new club. His one-timer from the slot was the first extra-man tally of the day and gave Buffalo a 1-0 lead at 11:07 of the opening period.

Philadelphia struck twice early in the second. Second-year center Sean Couturier deflected a Kurtis Foster shot past goalie Ryan Miller at 2:23. Giroux put the Flyers in front at 4:57, but Vanek drew the Sabres level at 15:54 with the team's second power-play goal of the game.

Miller finished with 27 saves.

Scoring Summary
1st Period
11:07BUF PPG - Steve Ott (1) ASST: Jason Pominville (1), Thomas Vanek (1) 1 - 0 BUF
2nd Period
02:23PHI Sean Couturier (1) ASST: Kurtis Foster (1), Jakub Voracek (1) 1 - 1 Tie
04:57PHI PPG - Claude Giroux (2) ASST: Kimmo Timonen (1), Wayne Simmonds (1) 2 - 1 PHI
15:54BUF PPG - Thomas Vanek (1) ASST: Drew Stafford (1), Jason Pominville (2) 2 - 2 Tie
3rd Period
14:57BUF PPG - Tyler Myers (1) ASST: Tyler Ennis (1), Thomas Vanek (2) 3 - 2 BUF
16:13BUF Cody Hodgson (1) ASST: Thomas Vanek (3), Andrej Sekera (1) 4 - 2 BUF
19:12BUF EN - Thomas Vanek (2) ASST: Jason Pominville (3) 5 - 2 BUF
Three Stars of the Game
Thomas Vanek
G: 2Shots: 9
A: 3Hits: 0
PTS: 5PIM: 0
+/-: 1TOI: 19:17
Jason Pominville
G: 0Shots: 1
A: 3Hits: 0
PTS: 3PIM: 0
+/-: 0TOI: 19:15
Steve Ott
G: 1Shots: 3
A: 0Hits: 5
PTS: 1PIM: 2
+/-: 0TOI: 15:16
Penalty Summary
1st Period
01:34PHI Scott Hartnell  Roughing against  Marcus Foligno
01:34BUF Marcus Foligno  Roughing against  Scott Hartnell
06:03BUF Marcus Foligno  Roughing against  Luke Schenn
06:03PHI Luke Schenn  Roughing against  Marcus Foligno
09:35PHI Nicklas Grossmann  Tripping against  Cody Hodgson
12:40BUF Robyn Regehr  Tripping against  Wayne Simmonds
17:16BUF Jordan Leopold  Interference against  Claude Giroux
2nd Period
04:25BUF Robyn Regehr  Tripping against  Scott Hartnell
06:04BUF Patrick Kaleta  Roughing against  Kimmo Timonen
06:04PHI Kimmo Timonen  Roughing against  Patrick Kaleta
07:17PHI Scott Hartnell  Boarding against  Jason Pominville
13:50PHI Scott Laughton  Too many men/ice - bench
15:27PHI Luke Schenn  Hooking against  Cody Hodgson
18:20PHI Scott Hartnell  Fighting (maj) against  Drew Stafford
18:20BUF Drew Stafford  Fighting (maj) against  Scott Hartnell
19:18BUF Steve Ott  Embellishment
3rd Period
07:26PHI Ruslan Fedotenko  Tripping against  Mikhail Grigorenko
14:00PHI Luke Schenn  Tripping against  Marcus Foligno
15:47BUF Tyler Myers  Interference against  Scott Hartnell
15:47PHI Scott Hartnell  Interference on goalkeeper against  Ryan Miller
shots by period
Team Stats
Power Plays1/43/6
Faceoff Wins3136
Blocked Shots149
Penalty Minutes2521
3K. FosterD0112010:35
5B. CoburnD00-10024:37
8N. GrossmannD0000217:20
10B. SchennC0002015:35
11E. WellwoodL000008:08
14S. CouturierC1001019:11
17W. SimmondsR01-15017:36
19S. HartnellL00-131117:34
21S. LaughtonC0003010:12
22L. SchennD0002618:42
24M. ReadR0012015:13
25M. TalbotC0001014:20
26R. FedotenkoL0000211:38
28C. GirouxC10-23024:13
36Z. RinaldoC000002:47
41A. MeszarosD0002018:49
44K. TimonenD01-11223:01
93J. VoracekR01-12014:02
30I. Bryzgalov3640.90059:07
3J. LeopoldD0012220:21
9S. OttC1003215:16
10C. EhrhoffD0001022:01
19C. HodgsonC1027019:44
21D. StaffordR0104517:57
24R. RegehrD0012418:25
25M. GrigorenkoC00-12011:13
26T. VanekL2319019:17
29J. PominvilleR0301019:15
32J. ScottL000002:10
36P. KaletaR0001211:37
37M. EllisL000203:48
44A. SekeraD0101017:30
52A. SulzerD0000014:43
55J. HechtC0001014:32
57T. MyersD1002223:11
63T. EnnisC0103018:47
82M. FolignoL0000415:43
30R. Miller2729.93159:58