Buffalo, NY (SportsNetwork.com) – Sam Gagner scored 56 seconds into overtime
to lift the Arizona Coyotes to a 4-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday
night in a game between the NHL’s two worst teams.
With Sabres defenseman Mike Weber off on a tripping penalty he took with 30
seconds left in regulation, the Coyotes wasted little time winning the game on
Gagner’s slap shot from the left circle, which beat Buffalo goaltender Matt
Hackett to the short side.
It came after Brian Gionta’s power-play goal tied the score for Buffalo with
3:37 remaining in regulation.
Jordan Szwarz, Oliver Ekman-Larsson and David Moss also scored and Mike Smith
had 32 saves for Arizona, the Western Conference’s last-place team.
The Coyotes got their second win in a row for the first time in more than a
month and won for only the third time in their last 21 games (3-17-1). They
have 54 points, six more than the NHL-worst Sabres, who dwell in the Eastern
Tyler Ennis and Rasmus Ristolainen had the other two goals for Buffalo, which
has dropped four in a row and 11 of its last 12 (1-8-3). Hackett was shaken up
by a collision in the third period but remained in the game and finished with
Ekman-Larsson and Moss pulled the Coyotes out of a 2-1 hole with goals 2:51
apart in the second period, with Moss’ deflection making it 3-2 at 14:20.
The Arizona lead lasted until Gionta’s goal on a slap shot, which came after
consecutive giveaways in the Coyotes zone.
Szwarz, playing in his second game of the season, picked up his first point
and gave the Coyotes a 1-0 after 7:55 with a snap shot from the left circle
that beat Hackett to the far side top corner.
Ennis tied the score for Buffalo at 10:49 of the period with his 19th goal of
the season, fooling Smith with a deke in front of the net after taking a pass
from Matt Moulson on an odd-man rush.
Ristolainen gave the Sabres a 2-1 lead 8:37 into the second period on a power
play with a slap shot that made it through Moss’ screen in front of Smith.
The teams will meet again on Monday in Arizona … Phoenix will end its three-
game road trip on Saturday in Pittsburgh … Buffalo goes on the road to play
Colorado on Saturday.