NHL Alums: Vanek, Schroeder, Wheeler Notch Big Nights

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Former Gopher Thomas Vanek continued his offensive tear on Friday night with Buffalo's lone goal in a 3-1 loss at home to Carolina to move into a tie with Joe Thornton for the NHL scoring lead with nine points this season (three goals, six assists). 

Vanek is averaging more than two points a game as the Sabres are 2-2 after the first week of the NHL season. Here's Vanek's power-play goal from Friday night (just 1:56 into the game as Buffalo came out of the gate for an early 1-0 lead): 

Vanek also had six penalty minutes and six shots in the loss while teammate and fellow Gophers alum Jordan Leopold had a shot and a minor penalty for the Sabres. 

Schroeder Nets First NHL Point 

In just his second game in the NHL, Jordan Schroeder recorded his first point on Friday night -- assisting on Mason Raymond's third period goal that capped a 5-0 win for the Canucks over Anaheim. Schroeder and current Vancouver teammate and fellow former Gopher Keith Ballard both finished the night at +1. (See Schroeder's assist at the 3:22 mark of the video below) 

Wheeler's Jets Top Martin's Pens

The NHL season is just a week old, but we've already had several Gopher vs. Gopher matchups. We had another on Friday night as Blake Wheeler and the Winnipeg Jets beat Paul Martin and the Pittsburgh Penguins by a score of 4-2. Wheeler had two points in the home win (one goal, one assist) while also adding one hit and one blocked shot. Martin did not record and statistics in the game but was third on Pittsburgh's roster with 22:21 of ice time. 

Wheeler's first point of the night came on Evander Kane's first period goal at 1:10 that sparked a Jets comeback after two first period goals by Sidney Crosby.

The goal sparked the home team with Winnipeg proceeding to score four unanswered goals including Wheeler's empty netter with eight seconds left. 

In Other News

-Jim O'Brien had two shots and a hit in Ottawa's 4-6 loss to Tampa Bay on Friday night. 

-Kyle Okposo had two shots and a hit in the New York Islanders' 2-4 loss to Boston. 

-Saturday games to watch: Colorado (E. Johnson) vs. San Jose, Toronto (Kessel) vs. New York Rangers (Bickel), Dallas (Goligoski) vs. St. Louis, Chicago (Leddy) vs. Columbus.  

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