Thomas Vanek has helped the Buffalo Sabres get off to a strong start as they try to bounce back from a disappointing 2007-08 season.
Vanek will try to keep the Sabres perfect when they return home to face the Vancouver Canucks on Friday night.
One week into the season, Buffalo (3-0-0) is doing its best to erase the pain of missing the playoffs in 2007-08 after reaching the Eastern Conference finals in each of the previous two seasons. The Sabres won the Presidents' Trophy with a league-best 113 points in 2006-07.
Vanek scored two more goals in Buffalo's 3-1 road win over the previously unbeaten New York Rangers on Wednesday, leaving the Sabres as the only team in the East yet to suffer a loss and giving coach Lindy Ruff his 400th career victory.
Vanek has five goals through three games and 13 in his last 13 dating to last season.
"Sometimes the puck bounces your way a little bit, but at the same time I feel like we're playing well at both ends of the ice," Vanek told the Sabres' official Web site. "Right now I'm just getting rewarded. It's not going to last the whole 82 games, but so far it's nice."
The fourth-year left wing, who had 36 goals last season and a career-high 43 in 2006-07, has scored twice on the power play and twice with his team shorthanded. He has only one assist, though, in two games versus Vancouver.
While Vanek has paced the Sabres' offense, their defense is a big reason for the team's early success. Buffalo has allowed one goal in each contest and opponents are 0-for-15 on the power play.
Ryan Miller, who appeared in a career high 76 games last season, made 19 saves against the Rangers to improve to 2-0-0 with a 0.96 goals-against average. He is 1-1-0 with a 2.92 GAA in two career games versus Vancouver.
The Canucks (3-1-0) won 4-3 in overtime at Detroit on Thursday in the third of a six-game road trip since opening the season at home with a 6-0 victory over Calgary.
Alex Burrows scored 27 seconds into the extra session, while Willie Mitchell had two assists for Vancouver, which bounced back from a 5-1 loss at Washington on Monday.
"We knew we had to work hard all night," said Burrows , who leads the team with three goals and has one in two games versus the Sabres in his career.
Vancouver's Roberto Luongo made 32 saves in his fourth straight start Thursday, after he was pulled in the third period of the loss to Washington. The Canucks' captain, who has allowed 12 goals in his last three contests, is 7-6-0 with two ties and a 1.99 GAA against Buffalo.
This is the first meeting between the clubs since Buffalo won 4-3 in a shootout on Jan. 19, 2007.