Jeff Skinner’s 3-point night leads Sabres past Jackets

Jeff Skinner had a goal and two assists for the Buffalo Sabres in a 5-2 win against the host Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday.

Casey Mittelstadt had a goal and an assist, and Devon Levi made 29 saves for the Sabres (42-33-7, 91 points).

Johnny Gaudreau and Tyler Angle scored for the Blue Jackets (25-48-9, 59 points). Jon Gillies stopped 24 of 27 shots before leaving the game after the second period with a lower-body injury. Michael Hutchinson allowed two goals on eight shots in relief.

Gaudreau connected 34 seconds into the first period to give Columbus a 1-0 lead when he made quick work of a rebound that popped out to him at the bottom of the right circle.

Skinner finished off a give-and-go with Mittelstadt to tie it 1-1 at 8:36 of the second period. Skinner picked up a loose puck just outside the blue line after Alex Tuch used his frame to force a turnover and sent a short pass to Mittelstadt. The center then sent a quick seam pass to Skinner, who buried it into an open net.

Victor Olofsson scored for the second straight game to put Buffalo ahead 2-1 at 12:35 of the second, taking a pass from Dylan Cozens in the slot.

Tuch made it 3-1 just over a minute later. After a faceoff win by Skinner, Tuch skated to the top of the right circle and then around Mikael Pyyhtia before sniping far side from low in the circle at 14:01.

Angle’s first NHL goal narrowed it to 3-2 at 18:24. Playing in his second NHL game, Angle carried the puck into the zone and got past the Sabres’ defense to the bottom of the left circle, sniping a wrist shot from a sharp angle through the five-hole.

Mittelstadt pushed the lead to 4-2 at 4:03 of the third period. Skinner forced a turnover behind the Columbus cage and fed an uncovered Mittelstadt on the doorstep.

The Sabres’ Peyton Krebs stickhandled around the Blue Jackets’ Billy Sweezy before using his backhand to knock the puck off the defenseman’s stick and into the net to extend it to 5-2 at 17:27.