Thomas Vanek earned his first career hat trick last night as Buffalo beat up on Ottawa, 5-1. Vanek scored twice in the final period, as the Sabres continued their march back to playoff relevancy, now undefeated over nine straight games. They have earned 16 of a possible 18 points over that stretch, the AP reports. In other NHL action:
- Defensman Jay McKee scored the third period go-ahead, as slumping St. Louis halted a four game skid, beating the Kings 4-2. The Blues have won only three of their last 14
- Despite an early Carolina lead, the Bruins made a fight of it, as Shawn Thornton scored twice in 27 seconds late in the third before the B's succumbed 3-2.