BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Evander Kane's hot streak continued at just the right time for the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night.
Kane scored with 4:14 remaining to lead the Sabres to a 2-0 victory over the struggling Colorado Avalanche. It gave Buffalo some much-needed breathing room in a game the Sabres had to win in order to keep their faint playoff hopes alive.
"I thought we did a good job of playing a full 60 against a team that obviously has struggled this season," Kane said. "We didn't take our foot off the gas and we kept pushing. We played sound defensively and didn't give them too much."
Sam Reinhart also scored for Buffalo (25-23-10) and Robin Lehner made 23 saves for his second shutout of the season.
Kane's goal was his fifth in his past five games and came on a spectacular one-man effort. The power forward sped down the right wing before cutting inside, skating past two Colorado players in the process. Kane ripped a hard wrist shot between Calvin Pickard's legs for his 19th goal of the season.
The win gave the Sabres their first back-to-back wins this month after splitting wins and losses in their previous eight games. Building off wins has been a point of emphasis for Buffalo in recent days, as the Sabres are three points out of the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference but have played two more games than the final wild-card team, Toronto.
"We need to go back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back," Kane said. "That's where we're at right now in terms of this point in the season."
Pickard made 30 saves for Colorado (15-38-2), which lost its fifth game in a row. The Avalanche lost 14 of their last 16 games and won only four times in their last 28 contests (4-23-1).
"They put us on our heels and we looked like we weren't ready to skate again," Colorado coach Jared Bednar said. "We didn't create enough scoring chances to win the hockey game at the end of the day. We didn't earn a power play. ... My frustration comes game by game when we don't play the way we are capable of playing."
Offense was hard to find for the Avalanche, who relied on Pickard to keep them in the game.
"We didn't have a great game," Pickard said. "First period they kind of took it to us. Obviously you want to be mistake-free and give your team a chance but it wasn't happening tonight. ... We haven't had a point on this whole road trip. We've got to find a way to get a win."
Reinhart opened the scoring with a power-play goal 48 seconds into the second period. After setting a screen in front of the Colorado net, Reinhart collected a rebound off a long shot by defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen and put it between Pickard's legs for his 13th goal of the season.
The Sabres held the upper hand for the entire game but missed several opportunities to increase their lead prior to Kane's late goal.
With 11:07 remaining, Kane and Reinhart had a 2-on-1 chance that came up short when Reinhart was unable to corral Kane's pass in time. Pickard eventually gathered the puck.
Defenseman Zach Bogosian and Ryan O'Reilly also had shots go off the post for the Sabres.
"It got a little scary," Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said. "I think we had a good run of possession. We had a post here, a bounce there that didn't go our way. You know you're one away from them tying the game, just one shot. I liked that our guys stuck with the game the whole way through."
Sabres center Derek Grant left the game with a shoulder injury and did not return.
NOTES: D Cody Franson (foot), D Taylor Fedun and LW Nicolas Deslauriers were scratched for the Sabres. ... RW Rene Bourque and D Patrick Wiercioch were scratched for the Avalanche. ... This was the first of two meetings this season. Their second takes place on Feb. 25 in Colorado. ... This was the Sabres' fourth contest in a stretch of eight straight home games against Western Conference opponents. Next up is St. Louis on Saturday, followed by Chicago on Sunday. ... C Mikhail Grigorenko and D Nikita Zadorov are former Sabres first-round picks. They were sent to Colorado in June 2015 in exchange for Ryan O'Reilly
By The Sports Xchange
Publish Date: February 16, 2017 11:44:51 PM
Sabres pull out shutout win over Avalanche
|All Times Eastern|