Luukkonen gets 1st career shutout as Sabres beat Avalanche 4-0

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen made 26 saves in his first career shutout and JJ Peterka, Casey Mittelstadt, Tyson Jost, and Rasmus Dahlin scored for the Buffalo Sabres in a 4-0 win over the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday.

Colorado closed a three-game trip with consecutive shutout losses, ending a record NHL streak of 15 wins in a row on the road.

Luukkonen was Buffalo’s third goaltender to start the season, but has been thrust into action because of injuries to Devon Levi and Eric Comrie.

“It’s really a confidence booster for me and I’ve been waiting for a long time,” said Luukkonen, who won for the second time in three starts.

The victory was the Sabres’ most decisive so far in starting the season 4-5-0.

“That’s a good measuring stick for us,” said defenseman Erik Johnson, who signed with Buffalo after playing the past 13 seasons in Colorado. “That’s a team that knows how to win, that’s won, and it’s one of the top teams in the league.”

Colorado’s All-Star defenseman Cale Makar returned to the game after sliding into the end boards and going to the dressing room during the second period.

Makar’s right knee was bent under his body during the collision, which came after Makar lost his balance skating toward the net and was pushed from behind by Sabres forward Kyle Okposo.

“I think a lot of it’s on me, just going back slow, no effort,” Makar said. “I tried to take a stride in front and I don’t know if I caught myself or what happened but the next thing I knew I was just sliding into the boards.”

Makar was down on the ice for a few minutes and needed a trainer’s assistance in skating toward the bench. There was no penalty on the play, which frustrated the Avalanche.

“You see one of those every once in a while, and it’s a bad spot,” Colorado coach Jared Bednar said. “Both guys skate toward the end boards, it looks to me like he gets him on the hips just above the goal line, which you’re going straight in with two guys. I just don’t think you can hit him there. So I don’t love it. I just think it’s a dangerous play.”

Colorado’s All-Star center Nathan MacKinnon received two-minute unsportsmanlike and 10-minute misconduct penalties soon after for voicing his displeasure toward the officials.

Alexandar Georgiev stopped 25 shots in his second loss for Colorado. Georgiev tied an NHL record with 12 consecutive road victories going into Thursday night’s 4-0 loss in Pittsburgh.

Jeff Skinner had two assists for Buffalo, matching Dahlin for the team lead with nine points. Skinner set up Peterka’s goal midway through the first period, and Mittelstadt’s goal in the opening minutes of the second.

Jost scored his first goal of the season — and first in four games against his former team — giving the Sabres a 3-0 lead at 8:16 into the second period.

Dahlin extended his point streak to eight games when the All-Star defenseman scored on an empty net with 3:08 remaining in the third.

The Avalanche were shut out in consecutive games for the first time since December 2016, the season before drafting Makar with the fourth pick.

UP NEXT

Avalanche: Host St. Louis on Wednesday night.

Sabres: Visit Philadelphia on Wednesday night.

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AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/nhl