Avalanche C Colin Wilson missed his second game after suffering a head injury against Minnesota last Friday. … Earlier on Tuesday, the Blackhawks signed Gustafsson to a two-year contract extension and F Tyler Sikura to a one-year contract for 2018-19.
“We find a way to win a game,” Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said. “I’ll be honest with you. As a coach, you get your schedule in July and you look at it and I call them ‘we’re screwed here, those type of games.’ That’s one of them I have circled because it is a tough turnaround coming off a West Coast trip and coming right back and play. I’m thrilled for the guys to find a way.”
The only consolation for Andersen this time was he couldn’t be faulted on Buffalo’s first four goals, all of which were set up by fortunate bounces.
The Sabres led 2-0 after Reinhart and Pominville deflected in shots from the right point by Rasmus Ristolainen. Girgensons put Buffalo up 3-2 when Reinhart’s shot from a bad angle banked in off his skate.
The Sabres received yet another break in going up 4-2 when Toronto defenseman Ron Hainsey’s clearing attempt struck referee Kendrick Nicholson’s skate. The puck caromed directly to O’Reilly, who scored from the right circle.
The 19-year-old star had been the youngest ever with three hat tricks — getting there at 18 years, 302 days — but it had been over a year since his last three-goal game. He joins Jimmy Carson and Dale Hawerchuk as the only players with four hat tricks before turning 20.
Bouwmeester missed the first 21 games of season with a broken left ankle. He also missed nine games in December with an undisclosed injury and one in January for the birth of a child. He had two goals and five assists in 35 games.
“We know he was playing on borrowed time, I would say,” Blues coach Mike Yeo said. “We were hoping he was going to get through the season, but we knew there was really only so much life left in that hip of his. Very safe to say he gave us absolutely everything he had.”
Upshall logged seven goals and 11 assists in 61 games and provided a gritty edge.
“Losing those two guys is big. Big parts of our room, but they’ll be around pushing us from behind the scenes,” said winger Alexander Steen, who has two goals and four assists in a three-game points streak in San Jose.