Semyon Varlamov may not like the shootout, but the two seem to be getting along just fine.
The Colorado Avalanche goaltender stopped all Buffalo three chances and improved to 8-0 in the shootout this season in a 5-4 victory against the Sabres at the First Niagara Center on Wednesday night.
Varlamov, who was acquired from Washington last summer, has stopped 22 of 24 attempts this season.
"I jumped in the air like we won the Stanley Cup," Varlamov said. "It was huge. We never gave up."
Peter Mueller scored the deciding goal in the second round of the shootout for the Avs, who have now won three in a row and reached the 80-point plateau. Mueller ripped a quick wrist shot just under the glove of Sabres goalie Ryan Miller, who stopped 38 of 42 shots through regulation and overtime.
"This is the biggest win of the year," Mueller said. "To go from zero points to getting two with seconds left, you don't make that stuff up. It just shows the character of this team in that we never quit."
Newcomer Jamie McGinn continued his torrid scoring pace with a pair of goals, including a game-tying tally with just 2.0 seconds left in regulation. David Jones and Gabriel Landeskog also scored for Colorado, while Paul Stastny had a pair of assists and Varlamov made 20 saves.
Marcus Foligno scored twice, Drew Stafford added a goal and two assists, Alexander Sulzer scored and Ennis had three assists for the Sabres, who now trail eighth-place Washington by three points in the Eastern Conference.
"Frustrating," coach Lindy Ruff said of the lost point. "You play with fire, you'll get burned. We should have had a D in front of the net, and one of the defensemen were behind the net."
Ruff was referring to McGinn's tying goal, which came during a wild scramble in front.
Landeskog gained the zone and got a shot off that Miller stopped with his blocker. The puck eventually went to the right corner, where Ryan O'Reilly took a bad-angle shot that sneaked between Miller's pad and the post. The puck trickled into the crease, and McGinn swept it in.
It was reminiscent of the Sabres' 3-2 overtime win at Montreal on Monday night in which Buffalo allowed the Canadiens to tie it with 5 seconds remaining.
"We just have to be in desperation mode at all times," Miller said. "Four goals should win. They got a couple of fortunate bounces."
The loss spoiled a big night for Foligno, who scored twice with his father -- former Sabres captain Mike Foligno -- in the stands.
Fans initially thought he had scored a third goal and littered the ice with hats in the third period. But the goal that put Buffalo ahead 4-3 was credited to Sulzer, as replays showed the puck went off the stick of Colorado defenseman Matt Hunwick and not Foligno.
Foligno gave the crowd a big reason to cheer when he scored his first of the game 1:39 in. He slipped in front, while attempting to handle Ennis' centering pass, and the puck caromed off his skate and Jones' skate. Upon scoring, Foligno jumped up and down once, mimicking his father's goal celebration.
"It was good effort by us, but in the end it was a tough pill to swallow," Foligno said.
It was a back-and-forth game with the Sabres squandering two one-goal leads in the first period. Landeskog put the Avalanche ahead 3-2 with a power-play goal 5:35 into the second period. Foligno then tied it less than six minutes later.
"We knew how important this game was to stay in the hunt," McGinn said. "And we got the job done."
Material from wire services and team media was used in this report
1 - 0 BUF
1 - 1 Tie
2 - 1 BUF
2 - 2 Tie
3 - 2 COL
3 - 3 Tie
4 - 3 BUF