The Wraparound: Jets 7, Sabres 4 - The Buffalo News

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The Wraparound: Jets 7, Sabres 4

Welcome back. Or not.

The Sabres played their first game in Buffalo in almost three weeks, and it was as if Stephen King scripted the homecoming. There were horror stories all over the ice.

Winnipeg trounced the home team Tuesday, picking up an easy 7-4 victory in KeyBank Center. The Sabres scored two goals late to make the result appear less lopsided.

The Jets sent Sabres starting goaltender Robin Lehner to the bench with 21:26 off the clock, taking a 3-1 lead on their 17th shot. Replacement Chad Johnson didn't fare much better as the Jets danced through the Sabres' zone and scored on point-blank chances.

The Sabres are winless in five straight and fell to 10-24-9 this season. They are 5-16-7 in the last 28 games. Their last regulation win was in their previous home game, a 4-2 victory over Philadelphia on Dec. 22 in KeyBank Center.

Still perfect: The Jets, who earned a 4-3 victory over the Sabres on Friday, played an opponent within a week for the seventh time. They improved to 7-0 in the rematch with a 33-6 scoring edge.

Pouring it on: Winnipeg held a 2-1 lead after one period and scored the opening three goals of the second to expand the lead to 5-1.

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Power over penalty: The Jets have the second-ranked power play. Buffalo is third in home penalty killing. The Jets won the opening matchup.

Defenseman Brendan Guhle, making his season debut, went to the box for hooking with 4:47 gone. Patrik Laine scored with four seconds left in the penalty. With Lehner leaning left to peek around a screen, Laine's long shot slipped through on the goaltender's right.

To the top: Jack Eichel scored his 16th and 17th goals of the season, pushing him past Evander Kane for the team lead. Eichel made it 1-1 with 5:09 left in the first and 6-4 with 5:07 remaining.

Eichel has 13 goals and 24 points in his last 26 games.

That was quick: The game was tied for only 49 seconds after Eichel's first goal. Winnipeg defenseman Dustin Byfuglien scored on a slap shot from the point to put the Jets back in front, 2-1. Fans didn't take kindly to the goal, giving Lehner a Bronx cheer when he made his next save.

To the bench: Lehner stoned former Sabres prospect Joel Armia on the doorstep in the opening minute of the second period. It was short-lived success. Nikolaj Ehlers streaked down the left side and fired over Lehner's glove, sending the netminder to the bench with 1:26 gone in the second.

Four more: Winnipeg's Kyle Connor undressed defenseman Jake McCabe and beat Johnson high from close range to make it 4-1. Ehlers scored his second on a power-play rocket to make it 5-1.

Connor was left alone in front during the third period, easily beating Johnson to make it 6-2. Armia scored his seventh of the season into an empty net with 1:05 to play.

Sabres strikes: Ryan O'Reilly scored for the second straight game, making it 5-2. Jason Pominville cut the Jets' lead to 6-3 with his first goal in 14 games.

O'Reilly had a three-point night.

Injured: Sabres center Jacob Josefson blocked a Tyler Myers slap shot late in the first period, and the resulting lower-body injury ended his night.

Scouts galore: Scouts are paid to attend games, but it's worth noting there were representatives from 20 of the NHL's 31 teams in attendance. In addition to Buffalo and Winnipeg, there were scouts or executives from Tampa Bay, Boston, Toronto, Detroit, Montreal, Ottawa, Washington, Columbus, New Jersey, Carolina, the New York Islanders, St. Louis, Nashville, Colorado, Chicago, Los Angeles, Calgary and Vancouver.

Back on the scratch list: Sabres left wing Benoit Pouliot sat for the second time in three games. Pouliot has just two goals and one assist in his last 23 games.

Reappearance: Victor Antipin took part in the Sabres' morning skate, the first time he's been with the team since falling ill Dec. 30. He sat for the ninth straight game, including four games as a healthy scratch.

Defenseman Justin Falk joined Antipin in the press box.

Counting the house: Plenty of empty seats greeted the Sabres, who announced 17,398 tickets sold.

Next: The Sabres host Columbus on Thursday, then they'll scatter for the bye week. Buffalo will be off Friday through next Wednesday.

Photo Gallery: Winnipeg Jets 7, Buffalo Sabres 4

Sabres Notebook: Kane a potential rental for an NHL contender

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