COLUMBUS — Tage Thompson scored five goals, including the second-fastest four goals to start a game in NHL history, and had an assist when the Buffalo Sabres defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 9-4 at Nationwide Arena on Wednesday.
Thompson had four goals by 16:40 of the first period, trailing Joe Malone (8:45) of the Hamilton Tigers on Feb. 23, 1921. Thompson tied an NHL record for goals in a period and is the fourth to do it in the first.
“It’s one of those nights things are going in for you and a lot of good linemates set me up. So, it was a fun game,” Thompson said. “It’s definitely a rewarding feeling. You’ve spent a lot of years working to get to this point, and to be rewarded for it is a pretty good feeling and it just leaves you hungrier.
“You want more from yourself. You know you’re capable of it now, and I think it’s just something I’m excited for, to get a night like this, and you just want to continue to grow and continue to test yourself.”
Thompson had five points in a stretch of 5:41 to help the Sabres (12-13-1) to a 6-0 lead after one period.
“He’s a goal scorer and he did his thing tonight,” Buffalo defenseman Rasmus Dahlin said. “It’s like, ‘Oh, great play, great play.’ It’s a great play every time he’s on the ice.”
Alex Tuch had an NHL career-high four points (goal, three assists), and Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen made 20 saves for the Sabres, who are 5-2-1 in the past eight games. Jeff Skinner had four assists.
Patrik Laine and Gustav Nyquist each scored twice for the Blue Jackets (8-15-2), who have lost six of seven (1-5-1). Joonas Korpisalo was pulled after saving two of five shots. He reentered in the third period and made six saves on nine shots for the game. Elvis Merzlikins stopped 15 of 21 shots.
“We [stunk] pretty much the whole game, and you can definitely see that in the scoreboard,” Laine said. “It’s just embarrassing how we played tonight.”
Dylan Cozens gave the Sabres a 1-0 lead at 3:21 of the first period on the power play with a shot from the top of the right face-off circle.
Thompson made it 2-0 at 5:32, taking a pass from Tuch on the rush.
Dahlin scored from the top of the left circle at 7:28 after a pass from Cozens from behind the net to make it 3-0. Korpisalo was pulled after the goal.
Thompson took another pass from Tuch and scored on the rush 22 seconds later at 7:50 for a 4-0 lead.
He scored on the power play from the top of the left circle at 12:22 to make it 5-0, and during a 5-on-3 at 16:40 to make it 6-0.
“In 26 years pro, I’ve never seen that,” Blue Jackets coach Brad Larsen said. “We didn’t have an answer for that one line. Tage Thompson just tore us up tonight.”
Laine scored at 10:49 of the second period to cut it to 6-1, and Nyquist made it 6-2 at 12:04 before Thompson’s 21st of the season at 16:07 made it 7-2.
“It hasn’t sunk in,” Thompson said. “I don’t think it will.”
Thompson is the second Sabres player with five goals in a game, joining Dave Andreychuk (Feb. 6, 1986).
“That was an amazing performance by Tage, and really, the whole group set the table,” Buffalo coach Don Granato said. “I thought the energy, the collective effort, focus to start was really good and enabled that to happen.”
Peyton Krebs upped the lead to 8-2 at 17:19, and Tuch scored at 19:16 to make it 9-2.
Laine made it 9-3 at 4:47 of the third, and Nyquist scored at 15:49 for the 9-4 final.
NOTES: Thompson has 37 points (20 goals, 17 assists) in his past 19 games. He has 14 points (eight goals, six assists) in a five-game point streak. … Thompson is the second United States-born player to score five goals in a game, joining Mark Pavelich (New York Rangers, Feb. 23, 1983). … Thompson is the 18th NHL player with four goals in one period, and the first since Patrick Marleau (San Jose Sharks, Jan. 23, 2017). … Skinner has 10 points (three goals, seven assists) on a five-game point streak. … Cozens has a five-game point streak (12 points; five goals, seven assists). … Dahlin has a goal and eight assists during a five-game point streak. … Blue Jackets forward Johnny Gaudreau had an assist to give him 10 points (two goals, eight assists) in a six-game point streak. He has 19 points (four goals, 15 assists) in his past 12 games.