For a change, the Buffalo Sabres made life easy for goaltender Ryan Miller
Not only did the Sabres limit visiting Columbus to just 19 shots, their dormant offense erupted for five goals as Buffalo routed the Blue Jackets 5-0 at HSBC Arena on Friday night.
Miller had an easy time earning his first shutout of the season and 18th of his career as the Sabres beat the Jackets for just the third time in their 11 meetings since Columbus entered the NHL 10 years ago.
"It's a good night when you can kind of get forgotten a little bit," Miller said. "I have no problem with that. We played a good game, and it's good to see. The puck went in the back of the net, we were able to control the play, and we played good defense. From where I'm standing, that's probably one of our better overall efforts."
The Sabres did almost nothing wrong while handing the Jackets their fourth loss in a row. Buffalo went 3-for-6 on the power play, killed off all six Columbus man advantages and kept second chances to a minimum.
"It was the whole package, " Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. "It might be as good a game as we played."
And as feisty. Buffalo took 63 of the 112 combined penalty minutes, with Steve Montador, Patrick Kaleta and Cody McCormick each earning 17 minutes worth of penalties in the third period. Columbus' Jared Boll drew a major and a game misconduct for elbowing Buffalo defenseman Shaone Morrisonn in the head along the boards late in the third period.
Buffalo got a lift from the return of Drew Stafford, who had a goal and an assist in his first game after missing the past 11 because of a shoulder injury.
Buffalo outshot the Blue Jackets 29-12 through two periods while taking a 3-0 lead. Jochen Hecht and Jason Pominville had first-period goals before Stafford made it 3-0 on the power play with his fifth of the season at 12:01 of the second. He converted a behind-the-back pass by Derek Roy with a one-timer from the lower-left circle that beat Garon.
Thomas Vanek and Tyler Ennis added goals in the final five minutes of the third period to blow the game open.
"We talked about goal scoring, and tonight the puck went in for certain guys," Vanek said. "Once we got the 2-0 lead we played with confidence."
Mathieu Garon faced 37 shots for the slumping Blue Jackets.
"We just didn't seem ready from the start," Columbus captain Rick Nash said. "It was a poor effort."
Columbus looked nothing like the team that had won five in a row before dropping its last four.
"Too many guys on vacation," center R.J. Umberger said. "It was probably our worst effort in a while. We're not going to win any games like that."
Material from wire services was used in this report