Buffalo Sabres defenceman Jake McCabe (19) and Vancouver Canucks forward Antoine Roussel (26) battle behind the net during the second period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)

Boeser nets a pair to lift Canucks past Sabres 6-3

Vancouver breaks two-game losing skid

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.

READ MORE: Canucks stumble again in Florida, fall 5-2 to Panthers

NOTES: 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.

UP NEXT

Canucks: At Minnesota Wild on Sunday.

Sabres: At Detroit Red Wings on Sunday.

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

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