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Thomas Vanek returns for Buffalo tonight

Thomas Vanek, Tyler Ennis

Buffalo Sabres left wing Thomas Vanek (26), from Austria, reacts with teammate Buffalo Sabres left wing Tyler Ennis (63) after Vanek’s goal in the first period of an NHL hockey game with the Philadelphia Flyers, Thursday, Feb. 16, 2012, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)


Buffalo’s offense will be a bit richer tonight against Montreal as they’ll get Thomas Vanek back in the lineup after missing a game thanks to a wicked hit from Johnny Boychuk last week.

Mike Harrington of The Buffalo News hears from Vanek about the hit he took and just how bad it shook him up.

“I didn’t see him coming until I was laying on the ice,” Vanek said. “It’s part of the game, part of hockey. It happens and I’ve got to have my head up. It was a good hockey hit. I saw the replay and I just had my head down.”

Guys taking responsibility for getting lit up by big hits is a refreshing turn of events. We heard it from Jakub Voracek after he was crushed by Niklas Kronwall and now from Vanek. Hey, maybe the speed in the game isn’t such a big problem after all.

Vanek’s absence against Ottawa didn’t hurt the Sabres as they were able to knock off the Senators in a shootout. With him back in the lineup, the Sabres will hope that Vanek and linemates Derek Roy and Jason Pominville can find their scoring touch again.