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game recap

Olofsson scores twice in return, helps Sabres get past Blue Jackets in OT

Eichel has goal, two assists to hand Columbus third loss in row

by Heather Engel / Independent Correspondent

Olofsson rockets in OT winner

CBJ@BUF: Olofsson nets Eichel's set-up for OT winner

Jack Eichel turns and passes in front to a cutting Victor Olofsson, who fires in his 2nd goal of the game to give the Sabres a 4-3 overtime win

  • 00:48 •

BUFFALO -- Victor Olofsson scored twice in his return to the lineup, including at 2:44 of overtime, to help the Buffalo Sabres to a 4-3 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets at KeyBank Center on Thursday.

Olofsson, who missed the previous 15 games with a lower-body injury, scored the game-winner from low in the left face-off circle off a drop pass by Jack Eichel.

"It was great to be back," Olofsson said. "I didn't feel great for the first for the first couple periods trying to find my game a little bit. It's obviously hard being out for six weeks. I got a little rust in my game there, but I'm happy with the way I finished the game."


[WATCH: All Blue Jackets vs. Sabres highlights]


Markus Nutivaara forced overtime for the Blue Jackets (30-17-11) when he tied the game 3-3 with the Columbus net empty at 18:47 of the third period. Matiss Kivlenieks made 23 saves.

"I thought we stopped putting [our foot[ on the gas there," Blue Jackets forward Nathan Gerbe said. "I thought we sat back a little bit too much and gave them a little space and didn't control pucks the way we wanted to. Big goal at the end to tie it up, but unfortunately it's a tough loss."

Video: CBJ@BUF: Nutivaara deflects Bjorkstrand's shot home

Eichel had a goal and two assists, and Rasmus Dahlin had two assists for the Sabres (26-24-8). Carter Hutton made 28 saves.

Columbus, which is tied with the Philadelphia Flyers for the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference, is 0-1-2 in its past three. The Blue Jackets and Flyers are also one point behind the New York Islanders for third in the Metropolitan Division. 

Gerbe one-timed a Vladislav Gavrikov pass in the slot to put the Blue Jackets up 1-0 with 28 seconds left in the first period.

Boone Jenner deflected Zach Werenski's point shot to make it 2-0 at 1:31 of the second period.

Eichel cut it to 2-1 at 18:47 with a wrist shot from the top of the left circle. 

"In that situation, we need to end that period being up 2-0," Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said. "Three of our veteran forwards get caught, give up a 3-on-2 from their goal line, [the puck is in the] back of the net. … That's the hard part for me, just the situational play of some players. Glad we found a way to get a point. Had some chances in overtime. They did too. We lose."

Video: CBJ@BUF: Eichel rifles wrist shot home off the rush

Olofsson tied it 2-2 with a power-play goal from the right circle at 2:10 of the third.

"Even when [we were] down two, I thought we had some good chances in the first and I thought we played good at times in the second as well," Eichel said. "That's a really good hockey team, they don't give up a lot, probably don't blow a whole lot of leads either. We did a great job of just sticking with it in the room."

Evan Rodrigues gave Buffalo a 3-2 lead at 15:34 after cutting into the slot.

Video: EA Sports OT Winner: Olofsson wins it for Sabres


They said it

"The play at the end of the second period is just stupid. Three forwards, it's just stupid. And you know that gives them life. They're dead in the water after two periods if we're up 2-0. It's just stupid and quite honestly selfish, and that put us into a jam." -- Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella

"The resiliency in the group right now is strong, and you can feel the calmness. There's a maturity dealing with adversity against an outstanding Columbus team. You know why they're one of the best teams in the League in the last couple of months. They don't give you anything. To be down two and to fight through to get those chances, and Jack kind of opening that confidence that we can get back into this game in the second was important, but we liked the overtime reaction. I thought we had a lot of chances in overtime. We were playing for the win the whole way." -- Sabres coach Ralph Krueger


Need to know

Dahlin, 19, moved to within one point of Ray Bourque (79) for the second-most points by a teenage defenseman in NHL history. Former Sabres defenseman and coach Phil Housley is first with 132. … Olofsson, who played 16:59, scored two goals in a game for the first time since Oct. 5. … Sabres forward Kyle Okposo had three shots and three hits playing 14:59 in his return from missing six games with an upper-body injury. … The Blue Jackets have had at least one point in their past 11 games against the Atlantic Division (8-0-3). … Columbus allowed more than two goals for the third time in its past 13 games.


What's next

Blue Jackets: Host the New York Rangers on Friday (7 p.m. ET; ESPN+, FS-O, MSG, NHL.TV) 

Sabres: Host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday (7 p.m. ET; ESPN+, SN, MSG-B, NHL.TV) 

Video: Olofsson, Sabres rally, top Blue Jackets in overtime

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