for this game

Leclaire puts together another dominating performance

Oct 20, 2007 - 3:23 AM
By Dave Whalen PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

BUFFALO, New York (Ticker) -- The Columbus Blue Jackets must feel very comfortable when Pascal Leclaire is in the crease.

Leclaire made 21 saves for his league-leading third shutout in just four starts and Rick Nash had a goal and an assist as the Blue Jackets defeated the Buffalo Sabres, 3-0, on Friday to snap a two-game skid.

Leclaire received help from his teammates as he was never really challenged throughout the contest. The Sabres were held to a season-low 21 shots after amassing 95 over their previous two games.

"He's on the mark right now," Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock said. "That's what you need to win in the game right now. You've got to have great goaltending. If you're going to win, your goalie has to be your best player on the road, and he was our best player today."

After registering just one shutout in his first 59 career games, the third-year pro has blanked three teams in the first month of this campaign. Leclaire posted shutouts in his first two games this season before yielding five goals against the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday.

"We don't give up scoring chances," Leclaire said. "Obviously, when you get a shutout, you give credit to the goalie. Yeah, it felt good. I've played some strong games, but they hit a post. The puck went a little bit my way, but our team played well. That's what it is."

Columbus opened the scoring 6:31 into the second period, when former Sabre Michael Peca backhanded a big rebound past the glove of goaltender Ryan Miller. It was Peca's first goal as a Blue Jacket.

"We had a forecheck going, it was a 4-on-4," Peca said. "I didn't want to get in there too quick, I baited him to make that pass. They were a little lazy on it. I was able to get in and get a forecheck on it. I just banged into the open net."

Nash doubled the lead at 13:10, when he brought the puck out from the right wing boards, made a move to his forehand and snapped a wrist shot by Miller to the far side. It was Nash's team-leading fourth tally of the season and second on the power play.

A minute earlier, Nash was awarded a penalty shot after being hooked by Henrik Tallinder while going around the defenseman. However, Miller denied the former Maurice Richard Trophy winner, directing his shot into the corner with his blocker.

"I felt like I let the team down on the (penalty shot) where I could have put the team up by two goals," Nash said. "It was nice to get that one. I just tried the exact same shot and it worked the second time."

Leclaire's performance overshadowed an impressive effort by Miller, who turned aside 26 shots overall.

Nikolai Zherdev scored an empty-netter with 58 seconds remaining in the third to seal the victory for the Blue Jackets, who improved to 5-2-1 all-time against Buffalo - with three of those wins coming at HSBC arena.

"Tonight, nothing was getting in our way," said Peca, a former captain with Buffalo. "We had an air of confidence about us that we were going to go out and win this game, and we were going to do it the right way. Top to bottom, we had 19 guys that really stepped up and played a terrific game."

The teams played a scoreless first period, with the best scoring chance coming when Peca unleashed a slap shot that Miller snared with his glove with five minutes left.

The Sabres had won three straight - all at home - after starting the season with back-to-back losses to the New York Islanders.

"They played really good defensively," Tallinder said. "They didn't give up a lot, very few odd-man rushes. They were really sound in their own zone, too, and they outworked us, simple as that."








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    COLUMBUS 0 2 1 3
    BUFFALO 0 0 0 0 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    2ND PRD: COB - MICHAEL PECA 1 (RICK NASH) 6:31
    COB - (PP) RICK NASH 4 (MICHAEL PECA, KRIS RUSSELL) 13:10
    3RD PRD: COB - (EN) NIKOLAI ZHERDEV 1 (UNASSISTED) 19:02
    POWER-PLAY CONVERSIONS: COB - 1 OF 6, BUF - 0 OF 4

    Oct 19 9:55 PM


  • NHL
    COLUMBUS 3
    BUFFALO 0
    3RD PRD: COB - (EN) NIKOLAI ZHERDEV 1 (UNASSISTED) 19:02

    Blue Jackets vs. SabresOct 19 9:54 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    COLUMBUS 0 2 2
    BUFFALO 0 0 0 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    2ND PRD: COB - MICHAEL PECA 1 (RICK NASH) 6:31
    COB - (PP) RICK NASH 4 (MICHAEL PECA, KRIS RUSSELL) 13:10
    MISSED PENALTY SHOTS: COB - RICK NASH, 12:08 2ND.
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL


    Oct 19 9:04 PM


  • NHL
    COLUMBUS 2
    BUFFALO 0
    2ND PRD: COB - (PP) RICK NASH 4 (MICHAEL PECA, KRIS RUSSELL) 13:10

    Blue Jackets vs. SabresOct 19 8:55 PM


  • NHL
    COLUMBUS 1
    BUFFALO 0
    2ND PRD: COB - MICHAEL PECA 1 (RICK NASH) 6:31

    Blue Jackets vs. SabresOct 19 8:42 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    COLUMBUS 0 0
    BUFFALO 0 0 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    COB 10 10
    BUF 9 9
    GOALIES: COB - PASCAL LECLAIRE
    BUF - RYAN MILLER

    Oct 19 8:10 PM
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