Despite a dwindling roster, the Buffalo Sabres managed to string together a late game comeback to defeat the Phoenix Coyotes in overtime in front of a packed house at First Niagara Center on Monday.
Despite several missed opportunities for the Sabres, they were able to get one to go their way when it mattered most. A floating puck was misplayed by Coyotes’ goaltender, Mike Smith, and lodged in his pads as he slid into his own net giving Buffalo the win in overtime. Mark Pysyk got credit for the goal, his first of the season.
“First I’ve seen when it jumps in the goalie’s pants,” Zemgus Girgensons said to the media. “Emotions high, it’s definitely nice to win the game… We were really short on the bench and it feels twice as good when you do that.”
The Sabres were short-staffed on the bench tonight with several players out sick. Buffalo was only able to dress 16 skaters tonight as a result, and lost another due to a game misconduct penalty.
Despite several blown scoring chances throughout the game, the Sabres got it done when they needed to. Tyler Ennis tied the game up late in the third period, giving his team a chance to earn two points in overtime.
Ryan Miller was a crucial part of the victory, stopping 36 of 37 shots and earning his ninth win of the season for the Sabres (10-24-3).
The first period remained scoreless on both sides. Despite the fact Buffalo was outshot 15-3, the gameplay told a different story. The Sabres failed to capitalize on several scoring chances that could have put them ahead early.
The Coyotes (19-10-6) got on the board right away in the second period with a goal from Martin Hanzal. Phoenix’s Connor Murphy took a high shot from the point that was tipped past Miller by Hanzal just 00:19 seconds in. It originally looked like the shot was deflected with a high-stick, but after review the goal was allowed, putting Phoenix up 1-0.
The Sabres lost another skater when Drew Stafford got tossed at 11:16 in the second period with a game misconduct for elbowing.
Buffalo finally got on the board late in the game with a goal from Tyler Ennis at 14:01 in the third period. Breaking through the slot, Ennis received a beautiful feed from Zemgus Girgesons and put a nifty move on Smith to tie the game.
Buffalo had the majority of chances in the extra frame, and came away with the win after a fortunate play in Phoenix’s zone. Mark Pysyk got credit for the game winner after a floating puck found the back of the net after it got stuck in Smith’s pants.
The Sabres travel across the border this Friday to take on division rival Toronto Maple Leafs.