Paul Bissonnette doesn't score many goals, so getting one in front of his mom was extra special.
The Welland, Ont., native, playing in front of his mother for the first time in his NHL career, broke a 2-2 tie midway through the second period as the Phoenix Coyotes beat the Buffalo Sabres 4-2 on Saturday night.
"It feels good, especially to share it with family," said Bissonnette, who hadn't scored since Feb. 1 and hadn't dressed for a game since Oct. 29. "It's a special thing."
Bissonnette picked up a loose puck in the lower right circle after Kyle Chipchura's shot was blocked and beat Jhonas Enroth just inside the far post at 9:41 to put the Coyotes ahead to stay.
Bissonnette said Chipchura "put a shot on the pad and it kicked out right to me. I just tried to get it on net and luckily it went through the wickets."
Bissonnette said his mother, Yolande, has been ill the last two years, but has progressed enough that the 40-minute drive to the First Niagara Center "felt right." She sat along the glass with his grandparents.
"My grandpa can't hear very much, so to get him out of the house to do anything is special," he said. "It's a good day."
About 50 more family and friends bought their own tickets and gave Bissonnette a rousing cheer when he paid a postgame visit to the stands.
His goal came just 66 seconds after Radim Vrbata had tied the game. Vrbata hit the empty net with 1:11 left as the Coyotes won for the third time in four games on a trip that ends Monday night in Washington.
Mike Smith made 43 saves to improve to 8-1-2 in his last 11 decisions.
"He stood on his head," Bissonnette said of Smith's play during Buffalo's 16-shot barrage in the opening period. "They were buzzing pretty good in the first 10 minutes. They had a good forecheck, and both D were pinching. We kind of adjusted between periods."
Shane Doan also scored for Phoenix.
Luke Adam and Patrick Kaleta scored for Buffalo, which has lost two of its last three games without goaltender Ryan Miller, who is out with a concussion. Enroth, who made 34 saves in a 1-0 shutout at Carolina on Friday, made 25 stops in his fourth straight start since Miller's injury last week.
Doan opened the scoring 7:09 into the game, beating Enroth with a slap shot from above the right circle. Adam tied it at 11:57, winning a faceoff and then tipping in a point shot by Jordan Leopold.
Kaleta provided Buffalo with its only lead when he batted in a rebound 51 seconds into the second period.
The goals by Vrbata and Bissonnette took a lot of air out of the Sabres, who managed just 15 shots after Phoenix took the lead.
"That's when the game turned," Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. "They pushed hard early, but when we got those two quick ones that was the push back we needed. We carried play from the second half of the second period."
Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said his team had chances but didn't take advantage of them.
"We missed too many opportunities," Ruff said. "Point blank. We missed empty nets. We hit a few posts. It isn't good enough. If you want to win a game and come out with that much energy, you have to put those chances away."
Buffalo played the entire third period without defenseman Tyler Myers. Ruff said Myers has an upper-body injury and will be re-evaluated Sunday.
Material from team media and wire services was used in this report