Sabres snap Blue Jackets’ 6-game winning streak
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Jack Eichel scored 36 seconds into overtime to give the Buffalo Sabres a 2-1 victory and snap the Columbus Blue Jackets’ six-game win streak on Saturday.
Eichel controlled the puck in making his way up the ice from his own zone. He then circled his way from the left side to the right circle and snapped a shot to beat Matiss Kivlenieks inside the far post.
Evan Rodrigues also scored for Buffalo, and Carter Hutton stopped 22 shots to snap an 0-8-4 skid and earn his first win since a 4-3 overtime victory against San Jose on Oct. 22. Buffalo snapped a three-game skid.
Oliver Bjorkstrand scored for Columbus, which was coming off a nine-day break. It was his fifth goal in three games since missing 13 with a rib injury.
Kivlenieks stopped 22 shots in the rookie’s second career start. Starter Joonas Korpisalo is expected to miss another few weeks with a knee injury. Coach John Torotrella went with Kivlenieks over the more experienced Elvis Merzlikins, because Kivlenieks spent Columbus’ break getting extra duty in the minors.
Columbus picked up a point and is now 16-2-5 in a 23-game run that has elevated the Blue Jackets in the playoff race following an 11-14-4 start to the season.
Bjorkstrand scored 5:45 into the third period to tie the game. Gustav Nyquist drove up the right wing and had his centering pass deflect off the stick of Buffalo defenseman Henri Jokiharju. The puck was redirected to Bjorkstrand in the high slot, where he snapped a shot through a crowd into the top left corner.
Rodrigues opened the scoring with 3:52 left in the first period. Defenseman Rasmus Dahlin set up the play by making a move to get around Emil Bemstrom at the left point and drive into the circle, where he set up Rodrigues in an opening in the slot. Rodrigues had enough on his shot to sneak in under Kivlenieks’ left pad.
The Blue Jackets had a goal disallowed toward the end of the second period, when officials ruled Alexander Wennberg kicked the puck into the net following a video review.
Cam Atkinson took advantage of Sabres defenseman Jake McCabe’s stumble, and drove up the right wing to get off a hard shot stopped by Hutton. The rebound caromed off the skate of Eichel and immediately to Wennberg, who turned his left skate in directing the puck into the net.
NOTES: Sabres RW Kyle Okposo is out indefinitely after an upper-body injury in a 3-1 loss to Montreal on Thursday. Coach Ralph Krueger declined to reveal the exact nature of the injury, except to say it’s not head-related for a player who’s had past concussion issues. … Sabres D Brandon Montour did not play due to a lower-body injury. … The Blue Jackets had only Zach Werenski (No. 8) and Nathan Gerbe (No. 24) on the ice for the national anthem in a tribute to late NBA star Kobe Bryant, who wore both numbers during his 20-year career with the Lakers. … Blue Jackets D Andrew Peeke was scratched after being recalled from AHL Cleveland.
Blue Jackets: At Montreal on Sunday.
Sabres: Host Colorado on Tuesday night.