Christian Ehrhoff and Marcus Foligno scored short-handed goals to lead the Buffalo Sabres to a 5-2 victory over Columbus on Saturday night, ending the Blue Jackets’ franchise-record winning streak at eight.
Ryan Miller was almost flawless in goal for the Sabres, making 38 saves – standing particularly tall on the Blue Jackets’ four fruitless power plays.
Matt Ellis, Steve Ott and Cody Hodgson also scored for the Sabres, who had lost five in a row (0-3-2). Ehrhoff added two assists, tying a career high with three points. Hodgson also had an assist.
Derek MacKenzie had a goal and an assist and Mark Letestu also scored for the Blue Jackets, who had tallied at least three goals in each game during the streak.
Sergei Bobrovsky, who came in 9-0-0 with a 1.80 goals-against average and .940 save percentage in his past nine starts, had a forgettable game. He was pulled after giving up three goals – including both of the short-handed tallies.
The Blue Jackets were seeking a win not only to extend their streak, but also to pass the New York Rangers and take over second place in the Metropolitan Division.
They never got closer than two goals in the last 23 1/2 minutes.
Bobrovsky gave up both short-handed goals and another on just 10 shots before being replaced by Curtis McElhinney early in the second period.
The Sabres got on the board first at the 2:21 mark of the opening period when Ellis backhanded the puck — perhaps just trying to keep it in play off the back boards — and it eluded a surprised Bobrovsky.
Miller made several sterling saves in the opening period, including Cam Atkinson on a rush and Brandon Dubinsky on the rebound. The Sabres killed two penalties in the opening period.
The Blue Jackets pulled even on a pretty give-and-go play. MacKenzie passed to rookie Ryan Murray who fed the puck right back to him for a one-timer which got to the net off Sabres forward Zenon Konopka’s skate. It was his fourth of the season and came at the 12:53 mark.
Columbus had a man advantage after Tyler Ennis went off for elbowing. But a miscommunication in the defensive zone resulted in the Sabres keeping the puck. It ended up bouncing to near the end of the left blue line, where Ehrhoff wandered up and unloaded a hard slap shot. Bobrovsky appeared to see it all the way but missed it with his glove, the puck nestling inside the far top corner for Ehrhoff’s third of the season.
Ehrhoff, with his 66th career goal, became the 25th active NHL defenseman to reach the 300-point mark.
The Blue Jackets dominated the first few minutes of the second – yet still fell further behind.
The puck seldom left their offensive zone for more than 3 minutes. After Buffalo’s Mike Weber went off for elbowing, another bit of shoddy stickwork resulted in Marcus Foligno carrying the puck down the right wing, scissoring to the middle and wristing a shot that Bobrovsky caught but then allowed to trickle into the net. It was the sixth goal of the season for Foligno – the younger brother of the Blue Jackets’ Nick Foligno. Ehrhoff added an assist.
McElhinney was summoned immediately.
Cody Hodgson’s wicked, spinning wrist shot was stopped by McElhinney at 3:51 of the third, but Ott was there to jam it in. That thoroughly deflated a crowd of 16,272.
Notes: Columbus recalled D Cody Goloubef from AHL Springfield to replace David Savard (undisclosed illness) – but Goloubef had travel difficulties and didn’t make it to the game. The Blue Jackets were forced to go with five defensemen. … Sabres LW Ville Leino sustained an upper-body injury and did not come out for the third period. … Ott has points in his last three (2-2-4) and Hodgson (4-4-8) in seven games since missing eight with an upper-body injury.