Recap: Canucks Stifle Sabres in Good Road Win

Another opportunity presented itself to the Buffalo Sabres. A win tonight and they would have pulled to within three points of the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. Sticking with the theme of the season, they failed to take advantage of the chance in front of them. Another disappointing loss puts them eight points behind the Senators and Bruins in the division and still five points out of the final wild-card spot.

The Canucks got themselves a much-needed win to keep pace in the Western Conference wild-card race. After an action packed first, the Canucks locked it down and played a solid road game, preventing any dangerous scoring chances in the final 40 minutes of the game. Vancouver continues its eastern road trip Tuesday night in Pittsburgh.

First Period

The first period was full of entertainment. The Sabres got the scoring started off a nice play by Evan Rodrigues. He used excellent patience to wait out the Canucks’ defense and find Tyler Ennis for a layup for his fourth of the season. The Sabres seemed to be in control of the game early and then things took a turn.

Alex Burrows slashed Buffalo goaltender Robin Lehner behind the play and started an altercation between the two. Burrows seemed to be in line for the penalty, then Justin Falk came in like a wrecking ball and tackled Burrows to the ice, escalating the situation.

The Canucks would end up with a power play after all was said and done. They would capitalize on the opportunity, scoring a power-play goal in their fifth straight game off a deflection from Bo Horvat for his 17th of the season. Just over five minutes later, after a turnover from Jack Eichel, Michael Chaput put the visitors ahead with his second of the season.

The Canucks took over the period after the altercation between Lehner and Burrows. They appeared to be headed to the first intermission with the lead. With 16 seconds remaining in the period, though, Ryan O’Reilly found Rasmus Ristolainen wide open, and Ristolainen made another nice pass to Kyle Okposo, who finished off the play to tie the game at two after one.

Second Period

After a very entertaining first, the second period was far from that. The Canucks slowed the game down the way a team on the road should. The inexplicable struggles in the second period continued for the Sabres in this one. They were outshot heavily and had mental mistakes all over the ice.

The Canucks jumped out in front five minutes into the period when Burrows scored his ninth of the season by putting one under the arm of Lehner. With just under five minutes remaining in the second, Chaput scored his third of the season and second of the game to increase the Canucks’ lead to 4-2. Vancouver took its first penalty of the game late in the period, and it would carry over into the third, making a good start to the last 20 minutes even more important for the home club.

Third Period

The final period was another great job by the Canucks to lock things down and prevent the Sabres from entertaining any idea of a comeback. Buffalo didn’t really have any dangerous scoring chances in the final 20 minutes aside from the last minute of the game.

The tone from the Sabres after the game was about a team that isn’t buying in. Okposo discussed the trend of losing big games, saying, “We go out there and lay an egg. It gets old, but we’ve got to try and find a way to string some together.” Tyler Ennis echoed the same sentiment, saying, “We know what to do, we’ve just got to do it. It comes down to us in the room.” The players not buying into the gameplan or sticking to it for the full 60 minutes is noticeable and has cost them many times this season.


Scoring Summary


BUF – Tyler Ennis (4) assisted by Evan Rodrigues – 4:58

VAN – Bo Horvat (17) (PP) assisted by Ben Hutton and Markus Granlund – 9:07

VAN – Michael Chaput (2) assisted by Daniel Sedin – 16:47

BUF – Kyle Okposo (18) assisted by Rasmus Ristolainen and Ryan O’Reilly – 19:44


VAN – Alexandre Burrows (9) assisted by Troy Stetcher and Bo Horvat – 5:00

VAN – Michael Chaput (3) assisted by Alex Edler and Alexandre Burrows – 15:43



  THW Three Stars

First: Michael Chaput (2 G)

Second: Bo Horvat ( 1 G, 1 A)

Third: Alexandre Burrows (1 G, 1 A)

Next Up

Buffalo Sabres at Ottawa Senators

Canadian Tire Centre – 7:30 p.m. EST (Tuesday, Feb. 14)

Broadcast channels: TSN-5, RDS & MSG-B

2016-17 Season Series: Nov. 5 – Sabres 2, Senators 1 | Nov. 9 – Senators 2, Sabres 1 (SO) | Nov. 29 – Sabres 5, Senators 4 | Feb. 4 – Sabres 4, Senators 0

Next Up

Vancouver Canucks at Pittsburgh Penguins

PPG Paints Arena – 7:00 p.m. EST (Tuesday, Feb. 14)

Broadcast channel: NHL-US, TVAS, SN & ROOT

2016-17 Season Series: None