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Canucks use big third period to defeat Sabres

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BUFFALO — Brock Boeser scored two goals for the Vancouver Canucks in a 6-3 win against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center on Saturday.

J.T. Miller and Bo Horvat each had a goal and an assist, and Jacob Markstrom made 25 saves for the Canucks (24-17-4), who won for the first time in three games after a seven-game winning streak.

“It was huge for our group, especially on a road trip,” Boeser said. “You don’t want to start the road (trip) off with three straight losses (9-2 to Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday, 5-2 to Florida Panthers on Thursday). We did a really good job of (playing) more of our style of game tonight. We were more direct, more simple with the puck, we shut it down defensively, and I think that’s a key for our group.”

[WATCH: All Canucks vs. Sabres highlights]

Jack Eichel and Rasmus Dahlin each had two assists for Buffalo (19-19-7), which lost its second straight. Carter Hutton made 29 saves in his first start since Dec. 19.

“I felt fine. It’s just frustrating, you know what I mean?” said Hutton, who is 0-7-4 after starting the season 6-0-0. “[They’re] a pretty good hockey team up front. I think sometimes it’s like when they get to buzz like that in the offensive zone and move pucks around, stuff like that, it’s hard to compete. We battled, but obviously it’s just not good enough.”

Vancouver scored four times in the third period, including three in a span of 6:21, after the game was tied 2-2 in the second.

Miller scored off the rebound of his shot to make it 3-2 at 1:17, and Girgensons tied it 3-3 at 3:28 when he deflected Kyle Okposo‘s shot from the left circle.

Video: [email protected]: Miller follows up turnover with rebound goal

Boeser gave the Canucks a 4-3 lead on a one-timer from the slot at 6:24.

“He sort of slid into that open area and I think both their guys thought I was going to shoot it,” Canucks defenseman Christopher Tanev said. “He made a good play to get open.”

Jake Virtanen made it 5-3 at 7:38 from the bottom of the left circle on a delayed penalty against Buffalo.

Video: [email protected]: Virtanen sneaks in, buries Motte one-timer

“That’s definitely something we can’t accept. It was a [heck] of a hockey game until 14 minutes to go, and we turned it into a very painful, unacceptable finish,” Sabres coach Ralph Krueger said.

Loui Eriksson scored into an empty net at 17:48 for the 6-3 final.

Video: [email protected]: Montour rifles slap shot for an early lead

Brandon Montour scored off a cross-ice pass from Dahlin to give the Sabres a 1-0 lead at 8:44 of the first period. Boeser tipped in Troy Stecher‘s shot from the right side at 15:33 to tie it 1-1.

Horvat put the Canucks ahead 2-1 when his pass hit Sabres defenseman Lawrence Pilut‘s skate and bounced back to Horvat with an open net at 3:44 of the second. Sam Reinhart tied it 2-2 with a power-play goal on a one-timer from the left faceoff dot at 6:25.

Video: [email protected]: Horvat scores in front after blocked pass

They said it

“The last two games obviously we were terrible in both games, second half of Tampa [Bay], Florida whole game we [stunk]. It was only two games but it felt like 10 (days) to two weeks that we’d been losing. When you lose like that, it doesn’t go over well and it’s huge that we got the win today because it topples the snowball effect. We get the win today and now we go to [play the Minnesota Wild on Sunday] with a little energy and a little pep in our step.” — Canucks defenseman Christopher Tanev

“This is one you look hard at, the video and interact with the team quite aggressively on it in the morning tomorrow, but it feels certainly like there’s a will here to play a certain game and wanting to play with the puck, as you saw some really exciting offensive cycles and offensive play and the [defensemen] are involved. We’re just not getting enough out of that offensive pressure. Maybe back in our own end when it was 3-3 we tried to play a little bit like Vancouver does, which, again, isn’t our game. We need to understand that and learn from that here today.” — Sabres coach Ralph Krueger

Need to know

Eichel has seven points (three goals, four assists) during his six-game point streak. … Horvat has 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in his past six games. … The Canucks have scored 148 goals this season, tied for second-most among Western Conference teams with the Nashville Predators. The Colorado Avalanche have scored 162. … Reinhart, a native of West Vancouver, has scored in each of his past five games against the Canucks.

What’s next

Canucks: At the Minnesota Wild on Sunday (4 p.m. ET, FS-N, FS-WI, SNP, NHL.TV) 

Sabres: At the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday (5 p.m. ET; ESPN+, FS-D, MSG-B, NHL.TV)

Video: Boeser, big third period lead Canucks by Sabres

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