VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Robin Lehner and the Buffalo Sabres have gotten pretty stingy lately.
Lehner made 30 saves for his second straight shutout and the Sabres blanked the Vancouver Canucks 4-0 on Thursday night.
“We didn’t give them too much defensively,” Sabres coach Phil Housley said. “We were really tight to our net and we tried to protect Robin as best we could,” said Sabres coach Phil Housley. “And when we needed a save, Robin was big tonight.
“We bent but we didn’t break and that’s about sticking to the plan.”
Sam Reinhart, Nicholas Baptiste, Kyle Okposo and Johan Larsson scored for the Sabres, who won three straight games for the first time this season. Buffalo also shut out Edmonton 5-0 on Tuesday night.
The Canucks were playing the second game of a five-game homestand and also coming off a 6-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings.
“That’s disappointing,” Daniel Sedin said. “I thought we had a really good game against LA and we expected to be as good tonight. We weren’t.”
Jacob Markstrom made 22 saves for Vancouver.
“We’re not a good enough team to play 45 minutes and I’m pretty sure our players know that,” Canucks coach Travis Green said. “We definitely had a letdown after a big emotional win in our last game and I’m not happy about it.”
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 and took a shot that rebounded into the slot where Reinhart backhanded it in for his 10th of the season.
The Canucks controlled 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 Jake Virtanen’s 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 forward Evander Kane wristed a hard shot that clanged off the crossbar.
At the other end, Lehner got his body in front of a close shot by Henrik Sedin 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 Loui Eriksson’s tip and a mad scramble in his crease.
Buffalo got some insurance with just over three minutes left. Marco Scandella’s shot squeezed through Markstrom’s pads and Okposo was right there to knock it in and make it 3-0.
Larsson scored an empty-netter.
“It’s very frustrating, we’re playing good, like a couple nights ago,” Markstrom said, “and I don’t know if the guys get loose or too relaxed and think we’re a great hockey team that can go half speed . and it includes myself. I need to come up with two good games in a row and bail my teammates out.”
NOTES: Vancouver will be represented in the All-Star game by Boeser (24 goals, 43 points), while Buffalo will send forward Jack Eichel (20 goals, 49 points) to the game.
Sabres: home vs. New Jersey on Tues. Jan. 30.
Canucks: home vs. Colorado on Tues. Jan. 30.