- Associated Press - Saturday, January 7, 2017

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - The Buffalo Sabres used a big third period to slip past the Winnipeg Jets.

Brian Gionta scored Buffalo’s third goal in a span of 4:46 of the third period and the Sabres overcame a two-goal deficit to defeat the Jets 4-3.

The Jets lost after winning the first two on a three-game trip. They also lost leading scorer Patrik Laine in the third period.

The NHL’s rookie points leader entering the day was escorted to the dressing room after taking an open-ice hit from Buffalo’s Jake McCabe 13 seconds after the Sabres tied the game.

Laine was looking down at the puck when McCabe hit him with his left shoulder. McCabe was not penalized for the hit. Laine appeared to hit the back of his head on the ice as he fell and was down for several minutes before being helped to his feet.

Jets coach Paul Maurice had no update on Laine’s condition after the game.

“I don’t have a problem with the hit,” Maurice said. “They hit heads. It was a straight-on hit.”

McCabe had a small cut under his eye after the game that he said came from the hit.

Mark Scheifele immediately went after McCabe, leading to a brawl involving all of the skaters on the ice except Laine. Scheifele was penalized for roughing.

After the final horn, Sabres goalie Robin Lehner got involved in a 6-on-6 fight in front of the Buffalo net.

“It’s a spark for us, but it also gets their team off their game,” Gionta said. “They are running around trying to avenge the hit, obviously, to a big player on their team. That’s where a lot of the momentum comes from.”

Ryan O’Reilly added a goal and an assist for Buffalo and has four points in two games since returning from an appendectomy. Marcus Foligno and Zemgus Girgensons had third-period goals and Lehner made 32 saves.

Buffalo has won two of three.

“It has the feel of a turnaround game,” Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said. “It’s a big way to respond in the third period and we left it all out there.”

Nikolaj Ehlers, Drew Stafford and Joel Armia scored for the Jets. Connor Hellebuyck stopped 32 shots.

“I definitely felt like we were in control for a majority of the game,” Stafford said. “It’s just the way the ebbs and flows of this game go sometimes.”

Having given up a lead late in the third period of Tuesday’s 4-3 loss in Chicago and getting booed off the ice at the end of the second period Saturday, the Sabres were energized in the third.

The Sabres had a 16-5 advantage in shots on goal in the third after getting outshot 30-20 by the Jets over the first two periods.

“We came out a little timid to start the game,” Gionta said. “We knew we weren’t playing good. We knew we had a lot more to give.”

Gionta gave Buffalo its first lead at 9:54 of the third when he skated to the left side of the crease and lifted a wrist shot over a diving Hellebuyck for his eighth goal of the season.

Foligno and Girgensons scored 26 seconds apart earlier in the period to bring the Sabres back from a 3-1 deficit. Foligno got his seventh goal on a breakaway at 5:12. Girgensons tipped Matt Moulson’s shot from the boards and then backhanded in the rebound for his fifth goal.

“The way this game ended, it’s nice to finish this one out and be on the opposing side of something like that,” Sabres star Jack Eichel said. “Instead of giving up the lead, getting it and sticking with it. It’s great to see that after only a few days, we’re able to swing that.”

Winnipeg took a 1-0 lead when Laine set up Ehlers on a 2-on-1 for his 14th goal at 4:48 of the first. Scheifele had the secondary assist. All three players on the Jets’ top line have a point in four straight games.

Buffalo tied the game with 24 seconds left in the first period. O’Reilly received a crossing pass from Sam Reinhart in the left circle, faked a pass and flicked a wrist shot between Hellebuyck’s pads for his eighth of the season. Reinhart has nine points in his past nine games.

The Jets outshot the Sabres 11-0 over the first 11:42 of the second period and went up 3-1 on goals from former Sabres first-round picks Stafford and Armia.

Stafford took three shots from in front to score on a power play, Stafford’s third of the season. Armia knocked in the rebound from Adam Lowry’s shot for his second goal.

NOTES: Sabres D Josh Gorges (hip) was a late scratch. … Ehlers has five goals in his past four games and 23 points in 23 road games. … Eichel had a five-game point streak snapped. … Sabres D Rasmus Ristolainen had a career-high 30:22 of ice time. . Buffalo is 7-3-2 against Western Conference teams with points in its past five games. … The Jets have won two in a row eight times this season, but have yet to put together a three-game winning streak.

UP NEXT

Jets: Head home to face Calgary on Monday.

Sabres: Host Philadelphia on Tuesday.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide