NHL: Vanek Takes Over NHL Scoring Lead with Five-Point Night, Hat Trick

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In case you missed it, former Gopher Thomas Vanek vaulted into the NHL scoring lead on Thursday night with his second five-point game of the young NHL season. Vanek notched his eighth career hat trick and added a pair of assists to lead Buffalo to a 7-4 win over Boston for the Bruins' first regulation loss of the season. 

Vanek, who also ranks second in the NHL this season in both goals (six) and assists (nine), has tallied a point in each of the six games he's played this year and is averaging more than two points a game. 

In addition to the individual performance by the Minnesota alum, the Sabres were able to bounce back for the win despite being down 3-1 at one point in the second period and 4-3 early in the third. 

"I think team toughness is when you get down by two, you don't hang your head, you don't pout, you just keep playing your game, and I think we did that today," Vanek told NHL.com. 

The NHL's hot hand at the moment, Vanek's early season performance reminds us of some of his finer moments as a Gopher. 


*Paul Martin again led the Penguins with 26:23 of ice time on Thursday in a 3-0 win over the New York Rangers. 

*Blake Wheeler had a pair of assists in a 3-6 loss to Florida. Wheeler's first helper of the night came off a great steal and subsequent backhanded dish to Olli Jokinen. 

*Six former Gophers are in NHL action on Friday: WPG (Wheeler) vs. TBL, PHX vs. DAL (Goligoski), CHI (Leddy) vs. VAN (Ballard, Schroeder) and OTT (O'Brien) vs. CAR. 

*O'Brien has goals in two-straight games for the Senators heading into tonight's contest. 

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