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(Sunday, January 20th)
Final Score: Buffalo 5, Philadelphia 2
Buffalo, NY (Sports Network) - Thomas Vanek had two goals and three assists to help the Buffalo Sabres open their season with a 5-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday.
Jason Pominville also had three assists, while Steve Ott, Cody Hodgson and Tyler Myers all scored for the Sabres, who missed the playoffs for the third time in the past five seasons after an 89-point performance in 2011-12. Ryan Miller stopped 27-of-29 shots.
"It definitely feels good to start the season with a win, especially since it's going to be a quick season," said Myers. "The fans have been pretty restless here the last few months so it was nice to get this for them, too."
Sean Couturier and Claude Giroux each lit the lamp for the Flyers, who opened the season on Saturday with a home loss to the Penguins. Ilya Bryzgalov gave up four goals on 40 shots in the loss.
"It's frustrating and not where we want to be right now," said Giroux. "We just have to be patient and stay focused. We'll get things together here soon enough."
Skating on the power play with the score tied at 2-2 in the third, Tyler Ennis had the puck in the high slot and sent it over to the left point for Myers, who took a stride down before snapping a shot on net that found its way past Bryzgalov with 5:03 to play.
Just over a minute later, the Sabres gave themselves some breathing space as Vanek came in on a breakaway and was stopped, but the rebound sat in the crease and Hodgson jammed it in.
Vanek sealed the win in the final minute with an empty-net goal.
Buffalo struck first at the 11:07 mark of the first period on the power play. With Nik Grossman in the box for tripping, Pominville sent a pass from the deep left boards to the slot where Ott, making his debut with the team after being acquired in a trade with Dallas this past off-season, one-timed the puck from one knee for 1-0 lead.
Philly nearly got on the board with 4:16 left in the first period when a right point shot from Luke Schenn eventually found its way past Miller, but the goal was waived off as Ruslan Fedotenko was ruled to have interfered with the goaltender.
The Flyers, though, did tie the game just 2:23 into the middle period when a slap shot by Kurtis Foster in the high slot was re-directed in by Couturier at the right side of the net.
Philly then took the lead on the power play 2:34 later. With Robyn Regehr in the box for tripping, Giroux let fly with a big shot from the left circle that found its way into the net for a 2-1 lead.
Buffalo, though, tied the game with a power-play goal of its own with 4:06 left in the second. The goal came shortly after a 5-on-3 expired as Drew Stafford took the puck into the Philly end off a long pass and from the left point dished the puck over to the slot for Vanek, who was behind the defense and snuck a low forehand past the left pad of Bryzgalov with 4:06 to play.
Buffalo forward Ville Leino missed the game with a lower body injury ... Philadelphia center Zac Rinaldo left the game in the first period with a lower body injury and did not return ... The Flyers won all four games against the Sabres last season ... Buffalo plays at Toronto on Monday ... The Flyers play in New Jersey on Tuesday ... Buffalo was 3-for-6 on the power play, while Philly went 1-for-4.
01/20 17:23:51 ET