Ending long losing streaks on consecutive days was too much to ask of the Sabres. Actually, it was way too much to ask.
Chicago easily dropped Buffalo for the 11th straight time Sunday, pulling away for a 5-1 victory in KeyBank Center. The Sabres haven't beaten the Blackhawks since Dec. 11, 2009.
The Sabres were hopeful of extending their winning streak to four games after beating St. Louis for the first time since 2009 on Saturday. Instead, they'll head into their bye week with a loss.
The game ended an arduous run of 11 games in 18 days for the Sabres. They went 6-4-1 but ran out of gas against the speedy and talented Blackhawks. Chicago is on a 6-1 run.
Home show: South Buffalo native Patrick Kane assisted on Chicago's fourth goal and scored the fifth to put the game out of reach. Kane's one-touch pass onto the stick of Artem Anisimov gave the Blackhawks a 4-1 lead with 3:29 gone in the third.
Kane gleefully celebrated his goal with 13:24 to play, with good reason. After getting the puck alone in front, Kane feigned a move to the middle and cut to the right for his 20th goal of the season.
Circle gets the goal: The Blackhawks’ Ryan Hartman opened the scoring with a trip around Buffalo's end. He circled the top of the zone with the puck before unleashing a laser from the right circle. The shot soared past Robin Lehner’s glove and bounced right back into play after striking the iron inside the net with 6:26 to go in the first.
Chances squandered: The Sabres had three power plays during the first period, including a five-on-three for 1:28 in the closing minutes. They failed to connect. Kyle Okposo had a pair of point-blank opportunities during the two-man advantage but couldn’t pull the trigger.
Buffalo entered the game with the NHL's No. 2 power play.
Late life: The power-play troubles sucked the energy out of the previously buzzing building. Evander Kane brought the arena back to life, tying the game with 5.6 seconds left in the opening period.
Buffalo denied Chicago’s attempt to exit its zone, with Jack Eichel getting the puck below the goal line. He sent a no-look pass to Kane in front, and the red-hot winger scored for the 21st time in 36 games.
Back in front: Ageless Marian Hossa gave Chicago a 2-1 lead with 9:40 gone in the second. The 38-year-old found room in front of defenseman Zach Bogosian on the right side of the Buffalo net and slipped a shot through the pads of Lehner.
It was Hossa’s 21st goal of the season and 520th of his career.
Nothing new: Jonathan Toews has had success against plenty of teams, and Buffalo is no different. He again reached the score sheet against the Sabres, giving the Blackhawks a 3-1 lead with 4:34 left in the second. Lehner stopped a slap shot by Richard Panik, but Toews was in the crease to grab the rebound and reach around Lehner with a backhand goal.
Toews has eight goals and 14 points in 14 games against the Sabres.
Busy man: Lehner faced 17 shots during the first period, turning aside 16. He made two huge stops during the opening five minutes, blocking Marcus Kruger’s net-side rebound chance and gloving Tanner Kero’s blast after a Dmitry Kulikov turnover. It was Lehner's seventh straight start.
The Blackhawks outshot Buffalo, 17-12, during the first period and 12-8 during the second. They had a 37-26 advantage in the game.
Milestone: Sabres center Nicolas Deslauriers skated in his 200th NHL game.
Counting the house: Buffalo announced its second straight sellout with 19,070 tickets sold. Probably one-third of the crowd was wearing Chicago jerseys.
Next: The Sabres will take their bye week before returning with three games in four days. They’ll visit Colorado on Saturday and Arizona on Sunday. After the flight home, they’ll host Nashville on Feb. 28. The trade deadline is March 1.