Kassian a beast in Canucks win
Buffalo Sabres defenceman Henrik Tallinder defends against Vancouver Canucks forward Zack Kassian during the third period at Rogers Arena. The Vancouver Canucks won 4-2 and Kassian had four assists. (REUTERS)
Reinforcements came in the form of Daniel Sedin and Ryan Kesler on Sunday. But the Vancouver Canucks didn't need them. They had Zack Kassian.
Playing against his former team the Buffalo Sabres, the forward picked up four assists to lead the Canucks to a 4-2 win at Rogers Arena. Sure, it was against the worst team in the league, but Vancouver finally gets their first back-to-back victories since Jan. 21.
Kassian's career high led the charge, but getting goals from four different scorers also helps. With Phoenix having had moved even further ahead over the weekend, the two points were crucial for the Canucks, who now sit three points out of the eighth spot in the Western Conference, but having played two extra games.
Eddie Lack made 16 saves while Abbotsford's Nathan Lieuwen got a hometown start for Buffalo in a losing cause, stopping 32 of 36 shots as the Sabres have now dropped eight straight.
Despite a pre-game ceremony to recognize captain Henrik Sedin's 1,000th career game — all with the Canucks — Vancouver forgot to start showing up once the puck dropped.
They found themselves trailing by two goals just 3:29 into the game. Tallies by Tyler Ennis and Jamie McBain gave the visitors a two-goal lead against a Canucks team who hadn't played since Wednesday. Colour most fans stunned, even the skeptical ones.
The good news, temporarily, for Vancouver was that they managed to storm back. Led by Kassian, who assisted on both first-period goals, Brad Richardson and Shawn Matthias scored for the home side.
Yannick Weber's lazy wrister in the second period broke the deadlock — a shot Lieuwen should have stopped. David Booth added another in the third period — his first goal since Dec. 17.
The Canucks head onto the road for two games starting Wednesday against the Minnesota Wild.