Penguins notebook: Sabres' Vanek's scoring touch poses problems
BUFFALO, N.Y. — Sabres left wing Thomas Vanek has always been among the NHL's most tantalizingly talented players.
This season, he has played with a consistency that has never been his hallmark.
Vanek will enter Sunday's game against the Penguins as the NHL's leading scorer with 23 points.
“Vanek has started off extremely hot,” Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said. “It's not something new. He's a dangerous player, a skilled player. He can make plays, score goals.”
Bylsma said that any reputation Vanek has garnered for merely being a perimeter player is unwarranted.
“He doesn't have the reputation for doing it inside, but he is good at the net,” Bylsma said. “He's a dangerous guy that you have to watch.”
Marc-Andre Fleury has played in six of the Penguins' past eight games and might continue seeing a heavier workload.
Fleury played a terrific game in Winnipeg, and given that the Penguins' schedule isn't quite as busy as it was in January, Bylsma might alter his plans and let his starter play more than planned.
“The first two weeks were easy to map out,” said Bylsma, explaining that back-to-back games made splitting responsibilities between Fleury and backup Tomas Vokoun easier.
“Right now, there's a little more flexibility. We've certainly got it mapped out. But you see that Flower has played two really strong games in a row. You do look at that.”
Penguins radio broadcaster Mike Lange asked Bylsma if Craig Adams' two-goal performance in Winnipeg was a “Dan Bylsma” kind of game.
Bylsma's skills as a player were similar to Adams' during the former's playing days, but Bylsma waved off the suggestion.
“Any time somebody gets two goals,” Bylsma said, “it takes a Dan Bylsma game out of the story.”