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Reinhart's birthday wish: More goals, wins for Sabres

BOSTON – Shaving cream was everywhere. In his hair. All over his face. In his ears. On his jersey.

It was hardly the birthday present Sam Reinhart wanted, but he could only laugh at the way it was delivered.

To celebrate Reinhart’s 21st birthday Sunday, Sabres teammate Marcus Foligno slyly covered a towel with shaving cream, snuck up behind Reinhart and rubbed gel all over the birthday boy near the end of practice. Reinhart spent more than five minutes trying to clean himself up at the bench, but that didn’t do the trick.

“It was stuck in the ear a little bit,” Reinhart said, “but a shower helped.”

It’s commonplace for baseball players to sneak up on teammates and deliver a shaving cream pie to the face. It’s rarer in hockey.

That’s probably why Reinhart never saw it coming.

“He doesn’t know what’s going on around him most of the time, so it was pretty easy,” Foligno said in Warrior Ice Arena. “I thought since we won last night it would have been a good time to do it.”

The Sabres were in a party mood following Saturday’s 2-1 victory in Ottawa. Reinhart scored the winner midway through the third period, getting an early start on his milestone birthday celebration. He hopes it continues Monday when Buffalo visits the Boston Bruins in TD Garden.

“Win or loss, this team’s pretty good at coming to the rink the next day and moving past it,” Reinhart said. “But obviously the feeling’s a little more upbeat after a win.”

The Sabres have four of the last five, so there have been more jokes and smiles lately. Reinhart’s second goal of the season could provide a serious jolt to his game.

Reinhart’s only goal in the opening 10 outings was a fluke. He passed the puck from behind the Florida net Oct. 29, and Panthers defenseman Mark Pysyk kicked it in. Reinhart had a sheepish look as the goal light flashed.

He worked for his goal Saturday. He got to the front of the net, kicked a carom to himself and reached for the rebound when the puck stopped on the goal line.

“That one felt a little bit better,” he said.

It’s no surprise Reinhart got back in goal column by being at the top of the crease.

“It’s where he’s been able to score in this league and where’s gone to be a good player for us offensively,” coach Dan Bylsma said. “He had five net fronts in the game, and that one was part of those five.

“We need him to be an effective player where he can be effective, and that’s right where he was at.”

Reinhart has felt good about his game despite a slower start than many expected. He has two goals and six points in 11 games. He had five goals and 13 points in the final 17 games last season.

He’s without Jack Eichel this year, and the line of Reinhart, Tyler Ennis and Zemgus Girgensons hasn’t found a groove.

“We’re starting to get used to each other,” Reinhart said. “Hopefully, the goals will start coming for us.”

Thanks to stellar goaltending by Robin Lehner, the Sabres haven’t needed many goals to win. During the last five games, they’ve scored 10 goals and allowed five.

Their odds of keeping the good times rolling will go up if Reinhart and others can start scoring consistently.

“We’re in every game, and we’re competing,” Reinhart said. “Obviously, we’re winning some. As long as we keep that up, I know the goals will start coming.”

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