The Vanek Set Play: A Sabres GIF Gift (And an Early Look at the NE Division)

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*We’re making this post “sticky” today in honor of Thomas Hockey God Vanek vs. the Habs. Man. This GIF: ALL. DAY. LONG. Go get ‘em, boys.

 

The list of 2011-12 GIFs has begun.

Thanks to Paul Gaustad, Marc-Andre Gragnani, Jason Pominville, Thomas Vanek, and of course, Carey Price’s inability to contain his inertia on the ice, we have our first winner GIF of the season.

“The Vanek Set Play” will undoubtedly make our 2011-12 GIFs of the Season, but why wait? Let’s enjoy it now.
 The Vanek Set Play: A Sabres GIF Gift (And an Early Look at the NE Division)

It looks even better in slo-mo:
 The Vanek Set Play: A Sabres GIF Gift (And an Early Look at the NE Division)

It doesn’t get any easier looking than that. But bear in mind, this set play wasn’t a fluke. It was a play that the team had actually been practicing.

Meanwhile, this game-winner also set a historical marker. From the Montreal Gazette:

Montreal Canadiens haven’t started this badly at home since 1938

And that’s just the title! The Habs are in an early season struggle, and Vanek’s goal was a dagger in the heart of Montreal’s effort to get back to their winning ways. Again, from the Gazette:

The chance to end the winless-in-Montreal-since-April-26 skid comes Saturday against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The time to pounce is now, against a team that must surely be distracted planning its Stanley Cup parade.

Indeed, the Northeast Division is Bizarro World right now – the Leafs are atop everyone with a nearly flawless 4-0-1 record. Buffalo is a solid second – for now – at 4-1-0. Montreal’s 1-3-1 record has them ahead of the pitiful Senators (1-5-0) by one measly point. If that’s not enough, Boston is just one measly point atop Montreal, at 2-4-0. Sure, the Leafs have yet to play an away game, but the all-important goals for/goal against ratio tells no lies.

NEStandings 300x81 The Vanek Set Play: A Sabres GIF Gift (And an Early Look at the NE Division)

Remember the old adage: “You know it’s Spring when the Leafs are out of the playoff picture.” We’ll see.

It seems strange to say that Montreal is entering must-win territory just 5 games into the regular season, but with Toronto in town for a 4 point swing, it’s their best chance to start reversing this reversal of fortunes in the Northeast.

Vanek’s goal was a shocking upset for Montreal fans, but as it turns out, it wasn’t a fluke. As the GF/GA ratio shows us, neither are the Bizarro standings.

For now.

Keep practicing those set plays, boys!

Go Sabres.

See also: “Top Ten 2010-11 Sabres GIFs,” “Sabres GIFs: Back by Popular Demand

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