Skinner nets hat trick, Sabres chase Daccord with early barrage in 6-2 win over Kraken

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SEATTLE — Jeff Skinner had a hat trick, with his first goal coming during a three-goal outburst in the first six minutes to chase Seattle Kraken goaltender Joey Daccord, and the Buffalo Sabres cruised to a 6-2 victory Monday night.

Tage Thompson and Alex Tuch also scored in the first period for the Sabres, who earned their first win in six tries against the third-year Kraken. With 71 points, Buffalo is four behind Washington for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot with 13 games left.

Owen Power had Buffalo’s other goal and Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen made 32 saves as the Sabres bounced back from Saturday’s 4-1 loss at Detroit. Luukkonen has allowed three or fewer goals in 26 of his last 27 games.

“That’s just how it’s going to be from now on — we just sort of move on to the next game,” said Skinner, who leads the team with 24 goals. “We have another one tomorrow (at Pacific Division-leading Vancouver), so we won’t be able to think about this one too long. It’s sort of a big challenge tomorrow, and everyone knows we need two points.”

The three-goal barrage came after Jordan Eberle gave the Kraken a 1-0 lead just 24 seconds into the game — the third fastest-goal in team history. Matty Beniers scored on a power play late in the first but the Kraken lost their fifth straight game, all at home.

Daccord made four saves before being pulled. Phillip Grubauer came on and stopped 23 shots the rest of the way. With 68 points, Seattle is 11 out of a Western Conference playoff berth with 15 games remaining.

It was the second time in three weeks that Daccord was chased.

“No. 1, those are quality shots. The first goal against, with Thompson, I mean that’s just a hell of a shot, right?” Kraken coach Dave Hakstol said. “But you get to a point where, even though they’re from pretty good areas, the second and the third ones are still pucks that I know, when Joey’s on, he stops. He sees those and he makes those saves.”

Just moments after Eberle put Seattle on top, Thompson tied it on a shot from just outside the top of the right circle that zipped past Daccord at the 49-second mark.

Skinner gave the Sabres a 2-1 lead at 3:56. Tuch’s shot from the top of the slot at 5:41 made it 3-1 and sent Daccord to the bench.

“I liked the response. I thought it was a great response,” Buffalo coach Don Granato said. “I thought our energy level was high, and whenever we play with a high energy level, we play well, and we did tonight. The response after giving up the goal really early, to respond really quick after that was outstanding.”

Skinner and Power scored 24 seconds apart midway through the second, boosting the margin to 5-2. Skinner capped his hat trick with 1:58 left in the game.

“He’s deadly. When’s he on, he can score and create plays and that’s a big burst of life for us, especially when we’ve been struggling to score,” Thompson said. “When he gets hot, he’s hot, and we need him to start feeling that and keep riding him. He does a good job of being positive and making everyone in a good mood. And now that he’s playing like that, he’s going to be even better.”

UP NEXT

Sabres: Visit the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday night.

Kraken: Visit the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday night.

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

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