Zemgus Girgensons gave the Buffalo Sabres an opportunity to complete a comeback by scoring the tying goal on a tip in front of the Vancouver Canucks' net in the third period Saturday afternoon.
The Sabres proceeded to unravel in front of goalie Carter Hutton and never recovered. Brock Boeser and Jake Virtanen scored in a span of 1:14 to help the Canucks defeat the Sabres, 6-3, in KeyBank Center.
Buffalo (19-19-7) has lost two in a row and is 3-8-1 in its last 12 games. The Sabres also received goals from Brandon Montour and Sam Reinhart, while Hutton made 26 saves in his first start in almost a month.
The Canucks (24-17-4), whose seven-game winning streak was snapped Tuesday against Tampa Bay, also received goals from Bo Horvat, J.T. Miller and Loui Eriksson. Boeser's two goals give him 19 points in his last 18 games.
Sluggish start: The Sabres were out-shot, 8-0, over the game's first five minutes. Hutton was forced to make four saves on the Canucks' first power play. Buffalo did not have a shot on goal until Conor Sheary's one-timer off an Evan Rodrigues pass at 5:41 into the first period.
The Sabres have a negative-14 goal differential in the first period this season, compared to the Canucks' mark of plus-16.
Momentum: Buffalo had only two shots on goal, including a Marcus Johansson one-timer, during its power play in the first period. Though the Sabres did not score on the man advantage, they maintained possession for almost three minutes and scored 39 seconds after the power play ended on Montour's shot from the left circle with 11:16 remaining in the first period.
Rasmus Dahlin has an assist in each of his last three games, and Jack Eichel extended his point streak to six games. It was Montour's first point in 12 games and his first goal since Nov. 21.
Response: After failing to record a shot on goal for almost six minutes, the Sabres had a 7-1 advantage over a span of nearly 10 minutes when Boeser tipped Troy Stecher shot from the right circle to tie the score, 1-1, with 4:27 remaining in the first period.
Tough luck: Sabres defenseman Lawrence Pilut broke up a 2-on-1 pass, only to have the puck go right back to Horvat, whose shot beat Hutton for a 2-1 Vancouver lead with 16:16 remaining in the second period. The odd-man rush began when Henri Jokiharju skated forward to challenge a Canucks forward at the blue line.
Hometown success: Reinhart, a Vancouver native whose father, Paul, played for the Canucks, scored on the power play with 13:35 remaining in the second period on a one-timer from the left circle to tie the score, 2-2.
Reinhart has three goals in his last four games, and he has scored in each of his last five games against the Canucks. Eichel's secondary assist on the goal gave him his 16th multi-point game of the season, and this was Dahlin's first multi-point game since Nov. 17.
Additionally, the Sabres' power play was amid a 1-for-21 slump, and Buffalo entered Saturday 3-2-5 when tied after two periods.
Close call: Canucks winger Tyler Motte hit the crossbar after he poked the puck off Dahlin's stick with 9:15 left in the second. The Sabres and Canucks each had nine shots on goal in the period.
Second look: The league office in Toronto took several minutes to review a sequence in which one camera angle showed Horvat's shot possibly going through the Sabres' net. However, another angle revealed that the shot sailed a few feet over Hutton's head, resulting in no goal.
Turnover: Jake McCabe's turnover near the Sabres' blue line resulted in Miller gaining possession and scoring on his own rebound for a 3-2 Vancouver lead at 1:17 into the third period.
Call stands: Girgensons tied the score, 3-3, by tipping Kyle Okposo's shot from the left circle with 16:32 remaining in the third period. The play was reviewed, however, the call on the ice stood since Girgensons' stick was not raised above the crossbar.
Collapse: Boeser scored his second of the game on a centering pass from Christopher Tanev for a 4-3 lead with 13:36 left in the third period. The Canucks then pushed the lead to two goals when Virtanen scored during a 2 on 1.
300: Sheary, who was acquired by the Sabres in June 2018, played his 300th career NHL game.
Goalie change: Hutton started his first game for the Sabres since Dec. 19 and had not been in the team's lineup at KeyBank Center since Nov. 14. Linus Ullmark started the Sabres' previous eight games and 13 of their previous 14.
Next: The Sabres will play the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday at 5 p.m. in Little Caesars Arena. The team is scheduled to be off Monday and hosts the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday.