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game recap

Keller has two goals, assist for Coyotes in win against Sabres

Raanta makes 25 saves for Arizona, which is tied for second wild card in West

by Alan Robinson / Independent Correspondent

Keller scores 2-on-1 goal

BUF@ARI: Keller nets 2-on-1 goal for second of game

Clayton Keller skates 2-on-1 with Taylor Hall and fires a shot through for his second goal of the game to extend the Coyotes lead to 4-2

  • 00:42 •

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Clayton Keller had two goals and an assist, and the Arizona Coyotes rallied for a 5-2 win against the Buffalo Sabres at Gila River Arena on Saturday.

Jordan Oesterle and Oliver Ekman-Larsson each had a goal and an assist, and Antti Raanta made 25 saves for the Coyotes (32-27-8), who are tied with the Nashville Predators and Winnipeg Jets for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference, one point behind the Calgary Flames. 

"We didn't panic, we stayed the course and didn't try to turn it into a solo effort, and we started to score some timely goals," Coyotes defenseman Jason Demers said. "We played the way we can play our game, and when we play that game we're hard to beat."


[WATCH: All Sabres vs. Coyotes highlights]


Jeff Skinner scored for the second straight game, and Jonas Johansson made 26 saves for the Sabres (29-28-8), who lost their third in a row despite opening a 2-0 lead in the first period. 

Buffalo, which lost 4-2 at the Vegas Golden Knights on Friday, is 10 points behind the Columbus Blue Jackets for the second wild card in the East.

"They've got some skill guys and they got a little bit of momentum and we weren't able to shut it down," Skinner said. "It's tough, especially at this time of the year and where we are [in the standings]. We've got to regroup."

Video: BUF@ARI: Oesterle, Kessel strike 53 seconds apart

Marcus Johansson scored at 7:59 of the first period to give the Sabres a 1-0 lead and Skinner made it 2-0 44 seconds later. Wayne Simmonds had an assist on Skinner's goal and needs one point for 500 in his NHL career.

"After those two goals went in we got the urgency we needed," Oesterle said.

Oesterle cut it to 2-1 at 2:20 of the second for the first of five consecutive Coyotes goals. Phil Kessel tied it at 2-2 at 3:13.

"We lost our game for five or six minutes there, and it was hard to get it back," Sabres coach Ralph Krueger said.

Keller scored the third goal in a span of 5:10 to make it 3-2 at 7:30 and extended the lead to 4-2 at 13:59 of the third. Ekman-Larsson scored shorthanded into an empty net at 19:40 for the 5-2 final.

"I felt pretty good," Keller said. "Even though we were down 2-0 I still felt good about our game."

Keller, moved to the Coyotes No. 1 line with Taylor Hall and Christian Dvorak after the first period, has four goals in his past three games after having one goal in his previous 20.

"I could tell he had it going," Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet said. "The last few weeks he has been one of our better forwards. He's out on the ice early before practice and I know he wants to finish strong."

The win was Tocchet's 100th as Coyotes coach (100-103-28). He is 153-172-54 with Arizona and the Tampa Bay Lightning.

"We've got to go to Vancouver (on Wednesday) and do the same thing. You just can't do it on whatever the day is, you've got to do it every night, and that's the key now more than ever," Tocchet said.

Sabres forward Victor Olofsson left with lower-body injury 3:30 into the second period. He missed 15 games with an ankle injury before returning Feb. 13.

"Obviously he's a big part of the team, and you don't like to see it when guys go down," Skinner said.

Video: BUF@ARI: Keller follows up rebound with goal in close


They said it

"We're 0-3 and no points, so there's no real good moments. The big picture [is bad], obviously. You come to win every game and you lose three and that's not what you want to do." -- Sabres forward Jack Eichel on the four-game road trip

"We've just got to keep the guys playing with a lot of urgency and not panic because there are a lot of games left. We've got to go on a roll here and we have it here in the room to do it. We're getting healthy again, which is great, and this is a stretch run where we have a chance to do something special." -- Coyotes defenseman Jason Demers, who had an assist in his return after being out with an oblique injury since Feb. 1


Need to know

Sabres forward Dominik Kahun, acquired from the Pittsburgh Penguins in a trade Monday, has a goal and an assist in his first two games with Buffalo. … The Sabres lost both games to the Coyotes this season after being 14-2-2 in their previous 18 against them. … Oesterle's multipoint game was his first of the season. … Arizona is 10-1-1 when Keller scores.


What's next

Sabres: At the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday (8 p.m. ET; TSN3, MSG-B, NHL.TV)

Coyotes: At the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday (10:30 p.m. ET; ESPN+, SNP, FS-A, FS-A PLUS, NHL.TV)

Video: Keller scores twice, Coyotes defeat Sabres

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