Luke Adam started smiling immediately. Of course he recalled the play that created his first goal of the season. How could he not? It was a world-class sequence by Thomas Vanek.



Vanek got the puck behind the Los Angeles goal Saturday in Berlin, and defenseman Matt Greene immediately mauled the Buffalo Sabres' left winger. The referee's arm went up as Vanek crashed to the ice, a power play forthcoming. The Sabres never got it. Vanek, sliding facefirst, had the wherewithal to stretch out from Greene's bull-riding, corral the puck and send it to Adam in the slot for a one-timer and 1-0 lead.



"You know, nothing surprises me with that guy anymore," Adam said Tuesday. "He's a special player, and he's really got the work ethic, too, that will make those plays. That's a tough play to make, but obviously he made it and it's great."



Great has been used to describe Vanek's talent for years. Based on early results, this may be the season the accolades move up a notch.



The Sabres' perennial goal-scoring leader has developed the all-around game to match his sniper ability. It wasn't just the assist on Adam's goal. It wasn't just his positioning in front of the net on his own goals. It wasn't just his work on the penalty kill. It's not only the ice time in the final minute of games. It's not just his place near the top of the leader boards for goals, assists and points.



It's all of those things and more.