Skinner scores 3 to lead Sabres to 5-1 win over Kings
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Buffalo Sabres coach Phil Housley had to shake things up, shuffling his lines against the Los Angeles Kings an effort to revive an offense that was held to one goal in three of the past four games.
The moves paid off, especially the new first line of Jeff Skinner, Jason Pominville and Jack Eichel.
Skinner scored three goals for his fifth career hat trick and the Sabres’ reconfigured top line keyed a 5-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday.
Pominville had a goal and two assists for his 700th career point, and Eichel added three assists as he centered Skinner and Pominville for the first time.
“I think that’s the spark we’ve been looking for,” said Zach Bogosian, who also scored.
Linus Ullmark made 19 saves for Buffalo.
Drew Doughty had a goal and Jonathan Quick made 21 saves for the Kings, who lost their fourth straight game. Quick has allowed 10 goals on 54 shots in two starts since returning from a lower-body injury.
Skinner put the Sabres ahead 2-0 at 3:31 of the second period and made it 3-0 with 4:08 left in the middle period. Pominville got his milestone point with a secondary assist on Skinner’s second goal.
Pominville is the third member of the 2001 draft class to reach the 700-point mark, joining Ilya Kovalchuk and Jason Spezza.
“A guy that plugs away every day, as professional as he is, he’s a good example for the younger players and seeing him get rewarded with 700, that’s awesome for him,” Bogosian said.
Bogosian scored with 15 seconds left in the second, the eighth straight goal allowed by the Kings in 56:40 of game time after giving up four goals in the third period of a 7-2 loss to the New York Islanders on Thursday.
Doughty got the Kings on the scoreboard with 7:44 left in the third. It was Los Angeles’ third power-play goal in two games after starting the season 0 for 22, but little else has gone right for them recently.
Outscored 21-5 during their current losing streak, the Kings held a closed-door meeting that lasted nearly 20 minutes after their latest defeat.
Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin said the team did not have “enough passion and fire to win games right now.
“We’ve accepted being okay. It’s not okay. It’s not working. It’s going to be a long year, guys will be moved if this continues,” Muzzin said.
The Sabres were more than happy to take advantage of the Kings’ struggles, with Skinner completing his first hat trick since Dec. 15, 2015, with an empty-netter with 25 seconds remaining.
The Sabres took a 1-0 lead at 10:24 of the first. Pominville scored on the rebound of a shot by Eichel. The goal withstood a review after the Kings challenged for interference as Pominville’s stick and skate made contact with Quick’s right leg as the goalie was sprawled on the ice.
“It was great that it worked out,” Housley said of his new first line, “but I think if you looked throughout all the lines they all contributed in one way or another.”
NOTES: The Sabres had nine players with a point and 13 players with a plus-1 rating or better. . Sabres D Jake McCabe had an assist to extend his point streak to three games. ... Kings LW Alex Iafallo had an assist for the third straight game, a new career-high.
Sabres: Wrap up their five-game road trip at Anaheim on Sunday.
Kings: Open a two-game road trip at Dallas on Tuesday.