Sabres end Blue Jackets’ 8-game streak, win 5-2
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) After a horrendous 5-20-1 start, the Buffalo Sabres have to be happy spoiling things for others.
On Saturday night, they ruined a good run by the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Christian Ehrhoff and Marcus Foligno scored short-handed goals and Ryan Miller was almost flawless in goal as the Sabres ended a five-game skid with a 5-2 victory that snuffed out the Blue Jackets’ franchise-record winning streak at eight.
”It feels good. It feels good to be a spoiler,” Foligno said. ”The odds were against us, they were on a roll and have been playing pretty well. Their power play’s been good – and we got two goals off of it, which is great.”
Matt Ellis, Steve Ott and Cody Hodgson also scored for the Sabres, who snapped an 0-3-2 stretch.
”It’s pretty cool. They’re one of the hottest teams in the NHL this month,” said Hodgson, who also had an assist. ”It feels nice to win, it doesn’t matter who it’s against. But it’s a little extra sweeter (against a good team).”
It was a stunning reversal of fortune for both teams. Ehrhoff added two assists, tying a career high with three points as the Sabres won by three goals and scored five times in regulation for the first times all season.
”It is disappointing,” said Derek MacKenzie, who had a goal and an assist for the Blue Jackets, who blew a chance to take over second place in their division. ”You win eight, you want to keep winning.”
Miller, who was stellar in the first period when the Blue Jackets peppered him with shots, made 38 saves and stood particularly tall on Columbus’ four fruitless power plays. He benefited from two fluky goals that benched his Columbus counterpart – reigning Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky.
”A couple of those goals, they didn’t see. I’m not too sure how they got in,” Buffalo coach Ted Nolan said. ”But the whole game was Ryan Miller. I thought he was sensational again.”
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.
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.
After MacKenzie tied it, Columbus went on a power play. But a miscommunication in the defensive zone resulted in the puck 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.
”I was about at the red line,” Ehrhoff said after collecting his 300th career point. ”They had some problems communicating with their goalie and he made the pass up and I jumped on it and tried to get it on net as hard as I could. It changed directions a few times.”
The puck seldom left Columbus’ offensive zone for more than 3 minutes at the outset of the second period. After Buffalo’s Mike Weber went off for elbowing, another bit of shoddy stickwork resulted in 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 of the season for Foligno – the younger brother of the Blue Jackets’ Nick Foligno.
Bobrovsky was replaced by Curtis McElhinney, but Miller never let the Blue Jackets back in it – thoroughly deflating a crowd of 16,272.
”I thought we competed hard, but we were sloppy at times,” Columbus coach Todd Richards said. ”Our power play is minus-2. We were a second slow in our decisions and our playmaking.”
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.
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