VANCOUVER (CP) — Robin Lehner made 30 saves Thursday for his second straight shutout and the Buffalo Sabres blanked the Vancouver Canucks 4-0 on the last night before the all-star break.
Sam Reinhart, Nicholas Baptiste, Kyle Okposo and Johan Larsson scored for the Sabres (14-22-9), who won three straight games for the first time this season. Buffalo blanked Edmonton 5-0 on Tuesday night.
The Canucks (19-24-6) were playing the second of a five-game home stand and also coming off a decisive win, 6-2 over the L.A. Kings. That offensive power was nowhere to be seen Thursday night.
Jacob Markstrom made 22 saves for Vancouver.
Buffalo came out the aggressor in the first and had Vancouver on its heels for most of the period. Just over four minutes in, Scott Wilson skated out from behind the Canucks’ net, took a shot that rebounded into the slot where Reinhart backhanded it in for his 10th of the season.
It was the Canucks controlling the play early in the second. Rookie forward Brock Boeser had two crowd-thrilling chances, including an all-alone opportunity at Lehner’s doorstep that he fanned on.
Buffalo made it 2-0 at 12:49 when a Jake Virtanen turnover led to Benoit Pouliot finding Baptiste streaking near the net. Baptiste coolly backhanded the puck under Markstrom’s pad for his first this season.
It could have been 3-0 early in the third period, but Sabres wing Evander Kane wristed a hard shot that clanged off the crossbar.
At the other end, Lehner got his body in front of a close Henrik Sedin shot to keep the Canucks scoreless with just over seven minutes left. Soon after, Vancouver went on the power play and Lehner was pressed into action, stopping a Loui Eriksson tip and a mad scramble in his crease.
Buffalo got some insurance with just over three minutes left. Marco Scandella’s shot squeezed through Markstorm’s pads and Okposo was right there to knock it in and make it 3-0.
Larsson scored an empty-netter.
Notes: Vancouver will be represented in the all-star game by rookie sensation Brock Boeser (24 goals, 43 points), while Buffalo will send forward Jack Eichel (20 goals, 49 points).