Sabres at Blue Jackets recap: Lehner earns 4-0 shutout in physical contest
The Sabres and Blue Jackets threw their bodies around, but Robin Lehner was the difference in a 4-0 win.
There are so many headlines from tonight's Buffalo at Columbus game, that it's hard to choose the lead story - Jamie McGinn scored twice, Jack Eichel had two assists, and Sam Reinhart added a team-leading goal of his own. David Legwand scored a 160-foot shorthanded goal on a kooky bounce. There were three Sabres penalties in three minutes, and Boone Jenner was given a game misconduct for slamming Zach Bogosian low into the boards.
But above all the rest, tonight's top story has to be Robin Lehner and his first shutout with the Buffalo Sabres, a 4-0 win over the Blue Jackets.
Lehner made 38 saves in his first shutout for the Sabres, the third of his career, and he earned every second of it. He made plenty of clutch saves, but was also willing to protect his crease and fellow teammates in what turned in to a bit of an ugly game between the two basement dwellers. In fact, Lehner earned four penalty minutes tonight, and was only the ninth goalie to do so and get a shutout since 1988, according to Hockey Reference and Nick Veronica.
Midway through the third period, Boone Jenner took a prone Zach Bogosian down hard against the boards, and was given a hooking major as well as a game misconduct for his dirty hit. Lehner stood up for his fallen teammate, and was given a penalty for leaving the crease and a roughing penalty against Jack Johnson, who earned the same in return. It was one of a few scraps for Lehner, who gave us another classic Lehner Death Glare tonight in his perfect effort.
Do not mess with our goaltender. #Lehner pic.twitter.com/vxFd3TSac3— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) February 20, 2016
There were plenty of penalties in tonight's game, both in the third and especially at the end of the second, when Scott Hartnell earned a boarding major, and then the Sabres immediately decided it would be a good idea to take three penalties in a row, negating their big advantage. Luckily they were able to kill everything off, and the goals from Reinhart and McGinn in the third would seal the deal.
With his two assists tonight, Jack Eichel is tied for his longest point streak of his career (1+4 in four games) and has scored 27 points in his last 27 games. Sam Reinhart, meanwhile, is now the leading goal scorer on the team, thanks to his 18th of the year, assisted by Evander Kane. Reinhart now has six goals in his last eight games.
And we can't forget about David Legwand, who scored a fantastic shorthanded goal from his own zone, thanks to a weird bounce and a sleepy rookie goaltender in Joonas Korpisalo.
February 20, 2016
It was a good team win against adverse conditions tonight for the Sabres, who next play a Sunday afternoon game at home against Pittsburgh.
1. Will the Sabres power play break out of its slump?
They did, and very quickly I might add. Jamie McGinn's power play goal came just six seconds into the team's second power play, and opened the scoring on the evening. Their penalty kill also went 6-for-6 and included Legwand's kooky shorthanded goal.
2. How will Kane look in his return?
Evander Kane played well tonight, leading the team with six shots on net and earning an assist on Reinhart's goal for his efforts.
3. Is Marcus Foligno's face OK?
Yes ladies, he's just as beautiful as ever.
Comment of the Game
If people weren't on the Lehner bandwagon yet
They are now. And Tim Murray laughs maniacally.
As Sabres PR tweeted out tonight, Lehner has a .932 save percentage in 12 games played this season. And he likes punching people who hurt his friends.