Vrbata scores 3 as Canucks beat Sabres to snap 5-game skid
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) Radim Vrbata scored three goals for his sixth career hat trick to help Vancouver beat the Buffalo Sabres 5-2 Monday night, snapping the Canucks' five-game losing streak.
Brandon Prust had a goal and an assist, and Henrik Sedin also scored for Vancouver, and Ryan Miller stopped 32 shots against his former team. The Canucks won for just the fourth time in their last 17 games. Daniel Sedin and Adam Cracknell added two assists each.
Brian Gionta and Sam Reinhart scored for Buffalo, and Linus Ullmark had 26 saves.
Vancouver extended its lead to 3-1 at 4:34 of the second as Prust scored his firt of the season off a nice pass in front from Derek Dorsett. Prust, who was fined $5,000 for his spear on Brad Marchand in Saturday's 4-0 loss to Boston, celebrated his first goal in 50 games.
Henrik Sedin tipped Alex Edler's shot past Ullmark with 2:42 remaining in the period for his ninth of the season and a three-goal advantage.
Reinhart pulled the Sabres, playing for the third time in four nights, within one at 1:51 of the third. Ryan O'Reilly stole the puck from Canucks defenseman Dan Hamhuis behind the Vancouver goal and fed Reinhart, who fired past Miller for his eighth.
Vrbata, who scored twice in the first, completed his hat trick with 5 1/2 minutes to go as he fired a shot past Ullmark for his ninth. It was his first three-goal game with the Canucks – and first since Oct. 3, 2013, while with Phoenix.
Bo Horvat and Chris Higgins had great chances for the Canucks early, but the Sabres grabbed the lead at 6:48 of the first period when Gionta batted a puck out of the air past Miller for his third on a play that stood up after video review.
The Canucks tied it just 80 seconds later when Vrbata scored his seventh after the Sabres couldn't clear their zone. Higgins saw his shot stopped by Ullmark, but the rebound spilled out to Vrbata.
Vancouver looked to have taken the lead with 6:32 left in the period, however Alexandre Burrows' goal off a scramble was waved off after the referee lost sight of the puck and blew his whistle.
Vrbata then made it 2-1 with 3:18 to go in the first as he scored on a slick deflection.
NOTES: Miller, who was traded by Buffalo to St. Louis at the 2014 trade deadline before he signed with Vancouver that summer, is now 2-1-0 against the Sabres. … Prust's last goal prior to Monday came for Montreal against Buffalo on Feb. 3. … Vancouver concludes a four-game homestand Wednesday against the New York Rangers. … Buffalo visits Calgary on Thursday. … The Canucks honored former players Markus Naslund, Todd Bertuzzi and Brendan Morrison – who made up the West Coast Express line during their time in Vancouver – prior to the game.