BUFFALO, N.Y. — Brock Boeser and Jake Virtanen scored 1:24 apart in the third period, and the Vancouver Canucks beat the Buffalo Sabres 6-3 on Saturday.
Boeser had two goals and Bo Horvat and J.T. Miller also scored for Vancouver, which had dropped consecutive games by a combined 14-4. Loui Eriksson had an empty-netter, and Jacob Markstrom stopped 25 shots to improve to 7-1 in his past eight games.
Sam Reinhart, Zemgus Girgensons and Brandon Montour scored for Buffalo, which continued its midseason slide by dropping to 3-8-1 in its past 12.
Sabres goalie Carter Hutton finished with 29 saves in his first appearance in nine games. Hutton dropped to 0-7-4 in his past 11 starts, a stretch in which he has allowed four or more goals six times. He is 6-7-4 on the season, with his last victory a 25-save performance in a 4-3 overtime win over San Jose on Oct. 22.
The game was tied at 2 before Hutton allowed three goals on the Canucks’ first six shots of the third.
Miller converted his own rebound off Buffalo defenceman Jake McCabe’s turnover to put Vancouver up 3-2, but Girgensons deflected in Kyle Okposo’s shot to tie it some two minutes later.
Vancouver then took control at the 6:42 mark, when Christopher Tanev stretched out to secure a loose puck in the lower right circle. He then dropped a pass to Boeser, who snapped a shot in while being left alone in the slot.
Virtanen made it 5-3 when the Canucks caught the Sabres flat-footed by bursting over Buffalo’s blue line. Adam Gaudette avoided a check and fed Tyler Motte to set up a 2-on-1 break.
Driving up the right side, Motte backhanded a pass through the middle, allowing Virtanen to tap it into the open left side.
The Canucks improved to 1-2 on their five-game trip. They had won seven in a row before Tuesday night’s 9-2 loss at Tampa Bay, followed by a 5-2 loss at Florida on Thursday.
This was a matchup of two franchises celebrating their 50th anniversaries. The Canucks won the first two meetings, beating the Sabres at Vancouver 7-2 on Oct. 27, 1970, and then winning 4-1 at Buffalo nine days later. … Sabres F Conor Sheary appeared in his 300th career game. … Sabres F Evan Rodrigues returned after being a healthy scratch for four consecutive games, which came shortly after the player went public in asking to be traded. … Canucks C Zach MacEwen rejoined the team after getting a game in with Utica of the AHL on Friday.
Canucks: At Minnesota Wild on Sunday.
Sabres: At Detroit Red Wings on Sunday.
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John Wawrow, The Associated Press