BOSTON -- It was the Thomas Vanek show at TD Garden on Thursday night as the Buffalo Sabres winger had a hat trick and five points to lead them to a 7-4 win and hand the Bruins their first regulation loss this season. In what many expected to be a bloodbath, there was only one fight but plenty of offense. The two teams went back and forth on the scoreboard, with David Krejci giving the Bruins a 4-3 lead early in the third period. But then Buffalo scored four unanswered goals to pull within four points of the Bruins in the Northeast Division.
Brad Marchand had two goals and Rich Peverley also scored for Boston while Tyler Ennis, Alexander Sulzer, Cody Hodgson and Jason Pominville all tallied for Buffalo. B's goalie Tuukka Rask made 25 saves, and Ryan Miller had 38 stops for the Sabres.
Marchand earning his money: After signing a four-year contract extension worth $18 million in July, Marchand has come out this season and proven his worth thus far. Marchand scored two goals Thursday and now has five this season. Known as an agitator around the league, Marchand continues to prove he is a sniper as well and has the potential to be a 30-goal scorer. If he can play smart and pick his spots on the agitating side, Marchand will be worth every cent.
Krejci and Horton continue streak: Krejci and Nathan Horton continued their torrid pace Thursday as Krejci gave the Bruins a 4-3 lead early in the third period driving to the net and beating Miller after taking a nice feed from Horton. Both Krejci and Horton now have five-game point streaks going with six points each during that span.
Thornton injured in fight with Scott: It didn't take long for 6-foot-9, 270-pound enforcer John Scott to make his presence felt in the Bruins-Sabres rivalry. Scott and Bruins tough guy Shawn Thornton did the tango 2:53 into regulation. Unfortunately for Thornton it was a one-sided affair as Scott quickly landed numerous heavy blows to Thornton's head, sending the Bruins pugilist to the ice. Thornton was wobbly and dazed as he headed to the penalty box and then went straight to the dressing room after serving his time. He did not return. His condition is unknown at this time.
Third line finally delivers: Following the Bruins' game-day skate Thursday, head coach Claude Julien was asked about the play of Peverley and the third line and why they couldn't seem to find the back of the net. Julien pointed out that they were playing solid two-way hockey and eventually the flood gates should open. Well, they found an opening Thursday as Peverley tied the game at 1-1 early in the second period. It was Peverley's first goal of the season. Daniel Paille -- who was on the line in place of healthy scratch Chris Bourque -- had an assist on the Peverley goal and fit in nicely on the left wing.
Bourque and Johnson out; McQuaid and MacDermid in -- Chris Bourque and Aaron Johnson were healthy scratches as Lane MacDermid filled in for Bourque in his first game of the season and Adam McQuaid returned to the blue line after a two-game absence. Here's what the lineup looked like:
Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Nathan Horton
Daniel Paille-Chris Kelly-Rich Peverley
Lane MacDermid-Gregory Campbell-Shawn Thornton
Andrew Ference-Adam McQuaid