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Vanek scores twice as Sabres post 4-1 victory over Ducks in Finland

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

HELSINKI - Thomas Vanek and the Buffalo Sabres opened the NHL season with a bang Friday.

Vanek scored two power-play goals and added an assist to lead the Sabres to a 4-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks in the season opener Friday for both teams.

Vanek, Buffalo's leading goal-scorer the last five years, set the tone early by scoring at 4:02 in the first period. Finnish native Ville Leino, playing in his former home arena, made it 2-0 in his Sabres' debut.

Nate Guenin replied for Anaheim in the second before Vanek helped restore the Sabres' two-goal lead by setting up Jason Pominville.

Vanek then scored his second of the game later in the period. Pominville and Luke Adam both finished with two assists.

"The puck was bouncing for us a bit tonight and we played a good first period with the two-goal lead," Vanek said. "We tried to get pucks to the net and it paid off early on."

Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff was happy with the way Leino played on a line with Brad Boyes and Tyler Ennis.

"Leino did a heck of a play, taking the puck from his own skates before scoring," Ruff said.

Doing so in his first game for a new club was nothing new for Leino, who was a dominant player for Finnish team Jokerit in the same arena before leaving for the NHL.

"I have done it for every team where I've played, and was lucky to do it again," Leino said. "It was cool to do it here in Finland."

Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle felt his team had allowed Buffalo an easy game.

"We did not do a very good job of transferring the puck from our defence to the forwards, and had to spend the first half of the game too much in our own end," he said. "We played more as individuals in parts of the game versus a team."

Anaheim hit the post twice in the third on shots by Francois Beauchemin and Luka Sbisa.

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