Sergei Bobrovsky stopped all 38 shots for his league-leading ninth shutout of the season as the Columbus Blue Jackets defeated the host Buffalo Sabres 4-0 Sunday night.
It was the 36th victory of the season for Bobrovsky, putting him one behind league leader Andrei Vasilevskiy of Tampa Bay.
Pierre Luc-Dubois, Oliver Bjorkstrand, Nick Foligno and Josh Anderson scored for the Blue Jackets, who have won five straight games, outscoring their opponents 24-4 during that span, to move a point ahead of Carolina for the Eastern Conference’s top wild-card berth. The Hurricanes lost 3-1 Sunday at Pittsburgh.
The Blue Jackets are two points ahead of Montreal as three teams vie for the two wild-card berths.
Linus Ullmark stopped 32 of 36 shots as the Sabres lost their seventh game in a row. Buffalo is 1-12-2 in its past 15 games and 3-17-3 in its past 23.
A day after captain Jack Eichel had to defend whether the team had quit on coach Phil Housley, the Sabres came out flat.
The Blue Jackets scored three times in the opening period to take most of the suspense out of the game.
Dubois opened the scoring at 7:14, tipping in Seth Jones’ shot from the top of the right faceoff circle for his 25th of the season.
Bjorkstrand made it 2-0 at 13:46 of the period, taking a pass from Dubois and blasting a slap shot from between the top of the faceoff circles past Ullmark.
Foligno extended the lead at 17:47, taking a pass down low from Ryan Dzingel and circling behind the net before his wraparound shot glanced off the skate of defenseman Brandon Montour and slid just over the goal line.
Anderson capped the scoring at 15:31 of the second, taking a pass from Dubois on a two-on-one break and beating Ullmark with a wrist shot from the left faceoff circle. It was his 27th of the season.