Sabres show 60-minute effort in Colorado


Robin Lehner made 35 saves and Buffalo used goals from four different skaters as the Sabres ended their four-game losing streak with a 4-2 win Tuesday night in Colorado.

Evander Kane gave Buffalo its third and final lead of the night with his 13th score with just over eight minutes left in the game. Jack Eichel controlled the puck for Buffalo in a 4-on-4 situation, and put a wrist shot on net. Semyon Varlamov made the save, but the puck deflected behind the net, where Kane corralled it and wrapped it in the net for a 3-2 lead. Jack Eichel earned his 14th assist while Jake McCabe posted a multi-point night with an assist, his first of the season.

Lehner was tremendous in goal for Buffalo, hitting the 35-save plateau for the third time this season. He was a rock in net for Buffalo, bailing out the defense on multiple occasions throughout the night. Colorado’s attack was aided with six power play opportunities, but Lehner was sturdy enough to pick up his sixth win of the year.

The first score wasn’t until the 2nd period when Benoit Pouliot picked up the Sabres fourth shorthanded goal of the year at the 5:32 mark. Ryan O’Reilly made a terrific play in the defensive zone to steal the puck and went the length of the ice with Pouliot. O’Reilly dragged past one defender and  slid a cross-ice pass to the 31-year-old who flipped it past Varlamov for his seventh goal of the season. O’Reilly’s helper was his 10th on the year.

Colorado tied the game with a power-play goal from Nathan MacKinnon with just under eight minutes remaining in the middle period. The Avalanche power play kept the puck in the zone for an extended possession that ended with MacKinnon ripping a wrister from the left face-off dot for his ninth score of the year.

Buffalo regained its one-goal lead when Jake McCabe ended the Sabres season-long defenseman scoring drought, his first goal since March 11th of last season.

Buffalo had a tremendous forecheck that culminated with Pouliot finding a streaking McCabe who’s soft wrist shot found its way past a blind Varlamov for a 2-1 Sabres lead. Newly acquired Scott Wilson had a great screen set, planting his body in front of the Russian goalie. Johan Larsson collected his fourth assist for the Sabres, while Pouliot notched his third helper and his second multi-point effort of the year.

Colorado challenged the goal for offsides, but after a lengthy video review it was determined a good goal. The Avalanche were charged with a two-minute minor penalty for delaying the game.

MacKinnon scored his second power-play goal of the night to tie the game midway through the final period. MacKinnon snuck behind Rasmus Ristolainen and made a nifty move to beat Lehner on the short side. The netminder motioned to his defense after the score, seemingly looking for a little more help, but MacKinnon’s conversion tied the game.

After Kane’s goal gave the Sabres a 3-2 lead, Eichel secured the win with an empty-net goal for his eighth tally of the season. O’Reilly picked up the lone assist giving both skaters two-point nights.

Ristolainen eclipsed the 30:00 minute mark in time on ice, while also collecting four shots on goal, two hits and a +4 rating on the night. The Finnish defenseman earned third star of the game.

Buffalo’s win ended a four-game losing streak while the four goals scored equaled its output from the previous five games combined.

The four-game road trip makes its third stop for the Sabres when they take on the Chicago Blackhawks Friday night at the United Center in Chicago. Puck drop is slated for 8:30 p.m EST.




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