BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) - For the first time this season the Buffalo Sabres have won three straight games, knocking off the Vancouver Canucks 4-0. Robin Lehner stopped all 30 shots faced for his second consecutive shutout. Sam Reinhart, Nick Baptiste, Kyle Okposo and Johan Larsson [empty-net] scored for the Sabres as they improve to 14-26-9.
Five observations from Thursday's win:
Robin Lehner takes a lot of criticism but in the Sabres last two games he's been perfect. It's hard to lose when your goaltender doesn't allow a goal.
Robin Lehner has back-to-back shutouts. Please tell me again that he's the worst goaltender in the NHL #SabresAfterDark
After he was chased out of the Stars game less than a week ago Lehner has looked calm, cool and collected. Consistency has been a bugaboo for Lehner in the past but like the team in front of him, he's shown serious signs of improvement. I've said it once and I'll say it again -- Lehner is not the problem.
Reinhart stays hot
Sam Reinhart is playing his best hockey in a long, long time. Reinhart scored early in the first period, tallying his seventh point in five games. During that stretch, Reinhart looks smart and is hovering around the net, an area where has proven to be effective. It's too small of a sample size to declare that Reinhart has turned a corner but he's trending in the right direction.
Kudos to Joe Yerdon of NHL.com for the 'Slick Nick' nickname for Nick Baptiste. In his sixth game with the Sabres this season, Baptiste converted on a pretty play to find the back of the net for the first time this season.
Baptiste's speed was on display as he flew through the offensive zone, beating Markstrom with a nice forehand-backhand move. When you watch Baptiste his speed is the first thing you notice and there is no question the Sabres lineup could use more of that.
Jack Eichel's point streak has come to an end after seven games. Despite failing to find the score sheet, Eichel once again had another strong game, creating plenty of chances for his teammates. Heading into the All-Star break, Eichel has 49 points in 49 games.
Who are these guys?
Maybe it's lackluster competition, maybe it's a fluke or maybe after 46 games the Sabres finally woke. After their most embarrassing loss of the season last week to Dallas, the Sabres have looked like a different team. They are converting on the power play, winning battles and clearing the zone when things get messy. There is a long way to go but it's hard to say anything negative about their Western Canada road trip.
What team am I watching? The #Sabres look great and more specifically, Reinhart is buzzing all over the place #SabresAfterDark