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Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Kane able to push Sabres to victory

All WNY News     Wednesday, December 06, 2017    

STAFF REPORTS



DENVER -- Robin Lehner made 35 saves to help the Buffalo Sabres end a four-game losing streak with a 4-2 win against the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center on Tuesday.

Benoit Pouliot, Jake McCabe, Evander Kane and Jack Eichel scored for the Sabres (7-17-4), who are 2-9-2 in their past 13 games.

"We played pretty good," Lehner said. "This was a back-and-forth game and we gave them some momentum with penalties. They had some good Grade A chances. The key was the chances came from within the zone. There were no odd-man rushes."

Nathan MacKinnon scored two power-play goals for the Avalanche (12-12-2), who lost the last three games of a five-game homestand to go 1-4-0.

"We dug ourselves in a hole for sure," MacKinnon said. "We should have been better on this homestand. We didn't take advantage of what we had in front of us. Hopefully it doesn't bite us at the end of the season."

Kane gave the Sabres a 3-2 lead at 11:54 of the third period with his 13th goal. Eichel sent the puck behind the Avalanche net, Kane corralled it and scored on a wraparound against Semyon Varlamov (31 saves).

"There was a shot and the puck was behind the net," said Kane, who had gone six games without a goal. "I had some momentum going behind the net. The goalie was out of position and I stuffed it in."

Eichel scored into an empty net with 32.9 seconds to play for his eighth goal.

"It would be easy to get down and go in a different direction, but the guys fought the whole night," Sabres coach Phil Housley said. "It was a total team effort up and down the lineup. Robin had a really solid game for 60 minutes and I thought our leaders really led tonight."

MacKinnon tied the game 2-2 at 9:58 of the third period when he beat Lehner to the short side for his second of the game and 10th of the season.

"When they tied it up there we came up with a big goal, got us ahead again," Housley said.

The Sabres took a 2-1 lead in the second period on goals by Pouliot and McCabe.

Pouliot scored shorthanded at 5:32 off a pass from Ryan O'Reilly, who skated into the Avalanche end as defenseman Erik Johnson slid toward the net. O'Reilly passed across to Pouliot on the right side for a shot past Varlamov for a 1-0 lead.

The Avalanche tied the game 1-1 at 12:22 when MacKinnon beat Lehner to the short side from the left circle.

The Sabres went ahead 2-1 on McCabe's goal at 18:59. His shot bounced into the net off Avalanche defenseman Samuel Girard. It was the first goal by a Buffalo defenseman this season.

The Avalanche requested a review whether the Sabres were offside before the goal, but it stood and Colorado was assessed a penalty for delay of game.

"The hockey gods were on our side on that call and hopefully the floodgates open up for us on the back end," McCabe said. "I think [the media is] more worried about the points and the goals than we are. We're worried about the two points that are on the line every night.

"Obviously we need to provide that secondary offense on the back end, and tonight we did that. We did get the most important two points, and that's all that matters."


  • The Sabres ended a six-game losing streak on the road (0-4-2). Their previous road win was Nov. 2, 5-4 against the Arizona Coyotes. ... Buffalo went 0-for-3 on power plays and has not scored in the past 29 attempts in 10 games. ... Avalanche forward Gabriel Landeskog completed his four-game suspension for cross-checking Calgary Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk on Nov. 25.

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