Quick hits: Sabres 4, Senators 0 - The Buffalo News
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Quick hits: Sabres 4, Senators 0

One of these days, the Senators might hand Robin Lehner a regulation loss. It certainly wasn't going to be Saturday.

The former Ottawa goaltender continued to torment his old team, stopping 37 shots in the Sabres' 4-0 victory. Lehner improved to 3-0-2 against the Senators with a .961 save percentage and 1.18 goals-against average.

His efforts and balanced scoring allowed the Sabres to end an 0-2-1 skid. They improved to 5-0-1 in the last six games in KeyBank Center, 5-0-2 in the last seven against Ottawa and 21-20-10 this season.

Taking the lead: Kyle Okposo showed All-Star moves to give Buffalo a 1-0 lead midway through the opening period. He played keep-away against Sens defenseman Marc Methot below the goal line and along the boards. Seeing open space in the slot, Okposo cut to the front and put home a top-shelf backhand with 10:11 gone.

It was Okposo’s 16th of the season and third against Ottawa.

Doubling up: The Senators took 11 of the first 14 shots during the second period, but it didn’t matter as they couldn’t score. On the 15th shot, Buffalo did. Rasmus Ristolainen sent a high shot from the blue line, and Ryan O’Reilly reached up to redirect the puck past goaltender Mike Condon.

Tripling up: Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart showed their uncanny knack for finding each other to give Buffalo a 3-0 lead. Eichel went around defenseman Dion Phaneuf deep in the Sens' zone, then put a no-look pass on Reinhart's stick. Condon stopped Reinhart's first attempt, but the right winger followed his shot and roofed the rebound with 14:07 to play.

Quadrupling up: Marcus Foligno pressured the Ottawa defense into a turnover, and Eichel gave his left winger the puck back. Foligno promptly deposited his ninth of the year and first in 11 games with 9:09 left.

That was the end of Condon's night, who was replaced by Andrew Hammond after allowing four goals on 25 shots.

Hot at home: O'Reilly has 12 points in his last 11 games in KeyBank Center. Eichel has 13 points in his 14 home games. Reinhart has 10 points in the last 10 games downtown.

Using his head: Soccer star Lionel Messi has nothing on Sabres captain Brian Gionta, who used eye-head coordination to dump the puck into Ottawa’s zone. Ristolainen lofted the puck from deep in the Sabres’ zone to the Ottawa blue line. Gionta stopped, waited for the puck to arrive and then hit it perfectly off the center of his helmet to continue the outlet play.

Gloving it: Lehner earned a partial standing ovation with 17.5 seconds left in the second, flashing the leather on Mike Hoffman. Lehner came far out of the crease to stone the winger, who had eight goals in his previous 10 games.

Enough: Eichel burned the Senators during his season debut in November, and the Senators were determined not to give him room. They played physical against the center, including a hit by Mark Borowiecki midway through the second. Sabres left wing Marcus Foligno had enough, engaging the Ottawa defenseman in a haymaker-filled fight.

Back on the blue line: The Sabres welcomed back defensemen Josh Gorges and Jake McCabe. Gorges, who’d missed 12 games, skated with Justin Falk. McCabe, who missed five games, skated alongside Cody Franson.

Defenseman Taylor Fedun was a healthy scratch, while Zach Bogosian missed his first game with a rib injury. He’s day-to-day, coach Dan Bylsma said.

Forward swap: The Sabres recalled left wing Justin Bailey from Rochester and sent center Cal O’Reilly to the Amerks. Bailey took the lineup spot of William Carrier, who will miss a “little bit” with a knee injury, Bylsma said.

Bailey started on the fourth line with center Nicolas Deslauriers and right wing Tyler Ennis. He also took shifts in place of Matt Moulson alongside O’Reilly and Okposo.

Young guests: The Buffalo Jr. Sabres Pee Wee Major team, coached by former Sabres captain Craig Rivet, took part in a pregame ceremony and welcomed the NHL club to the ice. The Jr. Sabres are headed to Quebec for an international tournament.

Counting the house: The Sabres announced 19,070 tickets sold, their sixth sellout in 24 home games.

Next: Four of the Sabres’ next five games are in back-to-back situations. They play Monday in New Jersey, then host San Jose on Tuesday. After hosting Anaheim on Thursday, they’ll go to Toronto on Saturday and host Vancouver next Sunday.

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