Robin Lehner recorded his first shutout as a member of the Sabres Friday night in Columbus, making 38 saves in a 4-0 win over the Blue Jackets.
Lehner was at the top of his game. He fought off 38 shots, including 14 of them in the first period when Columbus controlled most of the play. In the third period, he also nearly fought Jack Johnson. Boone Jenner plowed Zach Bogosian face first into the boards to Lehner’s left. Johnson attempted to join the skirmish but the 6’4″ Lehner intercepted him and they briefly tussled before being separated. After the game, Lehner called the hit “disgusting.” Bogosian left the ice bleeding heavily and did not return.
“He’s an engaged goalie, maybe the most engaged goalie I’ve been able to coach. He’s been on his game lately” – Dan Bylsma commenting on Robin Lehner
Jamie McGinn scored his first of two on the night by putting away a rebound from an Eichel shot. The power play goal upped his season total to 13 and his trade value even more. It changed the momentum of the game, which up until that point was largely controlled by Columbus.
The Sabres second goal was as unusual as they come. David Legwand, trying to clear the Sabres zone while killing a penalty, lofted a floater 150 feet down the ice. The puck bounced past a stunned Joonas Korpisalo, giving the Sabres their third shorthanded goal of the season and a 2-0 lead. Legwand was already on the bench when the goal went in and was mobbed by his teammates in celebration.
McGinn’s second of the night put the game out of reach for good. Jack Eichel accelerated down the left side boards, and flipped it in front of the net on his backhand. Girgensons then slid it across to McGinn and just like that, the Sabres went ahead 3-0.
Sam Reinhart notched his team-leading 18th goal to finish the scoring for Buffalo. The play was the result of some strong play by Evander Kane. Kane created a turnover in the neutral zone and exploded up the middle. He followed up his original shot, got the rebound and sent it back in front of the net, where Sam put it home.
Cody Franson was boarded by Scott Hartnell in the second period and did not return. The 6’5″ defenseman fell hard into the boards and could be out some time.
The Sabres now have 55 points, one more than last season’s total of 54, with 23 games left to play. They’ll host yet another matinee on Sunday, facing the Pittsburgh Penguins at First Niagara. Game time is 12:30 p.m. After that, they’ll head west to California to face the Ducks, Sharks and Kings.