BUFFALO, N.Y. - Pascal Leclaire made 36 saves in his return from an ankle injury and R.J. Umberger scored twice to help give the Columbus Blue Jackets a 6-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Friday night.
Leclaire, activated off injured reserve on Wednesday after missing seven games, made his first appearance since leaving in the second period of a 2-1 loss at Minnesota on Oct. 25.
Manny Malhotra had a goal and assist and Michael Peca, rookie Derick Brassard, and Rick Nash also scored for the Blue Jackets, who improved to 8-7-2 with their fourth win in five games.
Columbus won its third straight over Buffalo, and is 6-2-1 against the Sabres. The Blue Jackets also tied a franchise mark for their largest margin of victory, last done in Jan. 2006 in a 6-1 win over Pittsburgh.
Jason Pominville scored a power-play goal for Buffalo (9-4-3), which had its second regulation loss in the past three games.
Columbus chased Buffalo goalie Patrick Lalime after Malhotra's goal made it 4-0 at 5:13 of the second period. Lalime allowed four goals on eight shots before being pulled for Ryan Miller, who completed the second period with a pair of saves.
Lalime, usually the backup, returned for the third period and finished with 17 saves overall. He was making just his fourth start of the season, and first since a 5-2 loss to Ottawa on Oct. 27.
Umberger began a three-goal first-period scoring spree for the Blue Jackets when he beat Lalime with a wrist shot from the slot 5:37 into the game.
Peca scored his first of the year almost two minutes later, diving for and then deflecting Fedor Tyutin's shot from the left point.
Pominville cut the deficit to 4-1 with 6 1/2 minutes left in the second with a goal while Buffalo had a two-man advantage. Umberger and Nash capped the scoring with third-period goals.
Mike Commodore and Jason Chimera each had a pair of assists for Columbus.
Notes: The Sabres lead the league with five 5-on-3 goals. ... The Blue Jackets are 5-1-2 in their last eight after a 1-4 stretch. ... Buffalo C Tim Connolly played despite missing most of the third period with a bruised chest in the Sabres loss to St. Louis Wednesday. ... Brassard has six goals and four assists in his last eight games and has registered a point in 13 of 16 games. ... Lalime dropped to 7-4 lifetime against the Blue Jackets.