VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- The night was meant to belong to Vancouver Canucks center Henrik Sedin, one of the best passers in hockey.
However, it was third-line right winger Zack Kassian who racked up four consecutive assists as Vancouver rebounded from an early two-goal deficit to beat the Buffalo Sabres 4-2 Sunday night at Rogers Arena.
Pregame, the Canucks celebrated Sedin passing the 1,000-game mark earlier this month. All of his games were with Vancouver.
Kassian, 6-foot-3 and 214 pounds, used his size and skill to pick up his assists. He also picked up 10 stitches after a Buffalo clearing attempt hit him in the face early in the game.
"My face isn't getting any prettier, that's for sure," Kassian said.
The four-point outing came against his old club, and against the player he was traded for, Cody Hodgson, who like Kassian was a former first-round draft pick.
But Kassian downplayed anything other than the importance of the two points as Vancouver keeps its slim playoff hopes alive with 10 games remaining.
"Tonight it seemed every pass I made turned into a goal," Kassian said. "It was one of those games where the puck seemed to follow me.
"But it's done and over. It's nice, but it's more important we keep this streak going."
It's not much of a streak, but it marked the first time the Canucks won two games in a row in 22 games.
"If we lose this game, we shoot ourselves in the foot," Vancouver head coach John Tortorella said. "I know we have a very steep hill to climb, but we're still fighting."
With the Canucks down 2-0 before the game was even 3:30 old, Kassian got his first helper by feeding center Brad Richardson in the slot. Richardson roofed the puck short side over the shoulder of Buffalo goalie Nathan Lieuwen to make it 2-1 Sabres at 10:12 of the first period.
Not three minutes later, Kassian found Shawn Matthias, moved to left wing from his usual center, at the far circle, and Matthias one-timed the puck past Lieuwen to draw the Canucks even at 2-2.
Defenseman Yannick Weber put the Canucks ahead 3-2 with a soft wrist shot that was more of a dump-in after taking a pass from Kassian. The shot fooled Lieuwen and slid between his pads at 1:40 of the second period to make it 3-2.
It wasn't what the nervous rookie Buffalo goalie was hoping for in his second NHL start and playing in front of family and friends from his hometown, 45 minutes from downtown Vancouver.
"You tell me," Lieuwen said when asked what happened on the goal. "I thought I had it. Obviously there's a hole in my equipment.
"It was an unbelievable night, a dream come true playing in this arena."
Kassian's fourth assist set up left winger David Booth for his first goal in 32 games at 2:23 of the third. On that play, Kassian fought off the check of Hodgson before sliding the puck over to Booth on a 2-on-1.
"Kas made some great plays down low, he made some great passes," Booth said.
Kassian and Richardson finished the game plus-4.
Along with Matthias, the trio combined for nine points.
"Kas was a monster out there," Matthias said. "He made a great pass (to Richardson) then he did it twice (on Matthias's goal).
"Those are hard passes to make; it's pretty impressive he did it on back-to-back shifts."
Center Tyler Ennis and defenseman Jamie McBain beat Canucks goalie Eddie Lack on two of Buffalo's first three shots to take a 2-0 lead at 3:29 of the first.
Prior to the game, the Canucks presented Henrik Sedin, their captain, with an engraved silver hockey stick, a check for $10,000 (Canadian) that he can donate to the charity of his choice, a portrait painted by a local artist and tickets for Sedin -- who raises race horses with his twin brother Daniel back in Sweden -- and his wife to attend the 303rd Royal Ascot races in England this summer.
However, Henrik Sedin limped off late in the second period after colliding with Ennis. It looked as if Sedin hurt his left ankle or knee. He said he didn't know if he'd be able to play when the Minnesota Wild host the Canucks on Wednesday.
Lack, who started for the 13th consecutive game, made 16 saves. Nieuwen stopped 32 shots.
NOTES: Canucks LW Daniel Sedin returned to the lineup after missing nine games with a hamstring injury. However, his goal-less drought was extended to 23 games. ... Vancouver C Ryan Kesler also returned to the lineup after missing four games with a knee injury. ... Hard-luck Canucks LW Alex Burrows, who had just rediscovered his scoring touch (5-4-9 in his last six games), is out with a thumb injury. Burrows was slashed hard on the hand by Nashville D Shea Weber in the Canucks' previous outing after Vancouver had scored a goal and Burrows was lifting his hands to celebrate. He has missed 33 games due to injuries this season.