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game recap

Patrik Laine injured in Jets loss to Sabres

Forward leaves game in third period after hit; Brian Gionta scores winner for Buffalo

by Joe Yerdon / Correspondent

BUFFALO -- Brian Gionta scored the tiebreaking goal 9:54 into the third period to help the Buffalo Sabres defeat the Winnipeg Jets 4-3 at KeyBank Center on Saturday.

The Sabres were trailing 3-1 to start the third period.

Gionta skated toward the goal from the left circle and held the puck before taking a shot from the right circle that got past Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck for the 4-3 lead.

"We knew we weren't playing good," Gionta said. "We knew we had a lot more to give. I think it's a momentum thing, it starts to build, you get one and now you're a goal behind and you can start to push and think you have a chance."


WATCH: All Jets vs. Sabres highlights


Jets rookie forward Patrik Laine left the game 5:51 into in the third period after taking a hit from Sabres defenseman Jake McCabe.

"No update," Jets coach Paul Maurice said. "I don't have a problem with the hit. They hit heads. It was a straight-on hit."

Video: WPG@BUF: Laine takes big check, leaves game

The Sabres (15-15-9) have won two of the past three games.

Second-period goals by Drew Stafford and Joel Armia gave the Jets (19-20-3) a two-goal lead.

Marcus Foligno scored his seventh goal of the season on a breakaway after a pass from Cody Franson 5:12 into the third period when he slipped a backhand past Hellebuyck for a 3-2 lead.

Zemgus Girgensons tied the game 26 seconds later when he put a rebound of a shot by Matt Moulson past Hellebuyck for his fifth goal. Gionta's goal came 4:16 later.

"It has the feel of a turnaround game," Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said. "We needed that in the game and we got it, but it's also a big comeback for the boys. It's a big way to respond in the third period and we left it all out there. We played hard in the third period and came all the way back to get the win. It feels like a big game for us."

Nikolaj Ehlers gave the Jets a 1-0 lead 4:48 into the first period when he received a pass from Laine after Mark Scheifele sent a pass ahead to start a 2-on-1 against Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen.

Laine and Scheifele each extended his point streak to four games. Ehlers has five goals during a four-game goal streak.

"They played good and we let them have it," Scheifele said. "We sat back a little bit and they came in waves and obviously generated a lot against us."

Ryan O'Reilly made it 1-1 with 24 seconds left in the first period off a pass from Sam Reinhart.


Goal of the game

Ehlers' first-period goal came off a setup by Laine.

Video: WPG@BUF: Ehlers goes skate to stick off Laine's feed


Save of the game

With Winnipeg leading 3-1, Hellebuyck made a sprawling leg save against Marcus Foligno with 6:20 left in the second period.

Video: WPG@BUF: Hellebuyck lays out to rob Foligno in tight


Highlight of the game

Gionta's third-period goal was a practice in patience as he waited out Hellebuyck.

Video: WPG@BUF: Gionta holds the puck, scores go-ahead goal


Unsung performance of the game

Ristolainen played an NHL career-high 30:22. He had four shots on goal, three hits, four blocked shots, and a plus-2 rating.


They said it

"We started a little rough the first two periods. They came hard in the second; we kind of came here in the room, we knew [if] we score one we were going to get them on their heels. I think we played a [heck] of a third period. We all stood up for each other, some big hits, some good plays." -- Sabres goalie Robin Lehner


"We've come back in third periods a lot this year. We don't like to get ourselves in situations, obviously. We're a resilient group. … The fans started getting into [it] a little bit. We had a lot of energy. We're a dangerous team when we have a lot of energy." -- Sabres defenseman Jake McCabe


"It's going to be tough. You're going to chew on this one for a while. We were pretty dominant up until we got three consecutive penalties at the end of the second. I thought it was about as good as it could be, so you have to build on that." -- Jets coach Paul Maurice


Need to know

Sabres defenseman Josh Gorges (hip) was scratched. He was replaced by Taylor Fedun. … The Sabres have won four straight against the Jets franchise for the first time since the Sabres defeated the Atlanta Thrashers four in a row from Feb. 16, 2004 to Jan. 31, 2006. … Buffalo is 7-3-2 against the Western Conference.


What's next

Jets: Home against the Calgary Flames on Monday (8 p.m. ET; TVA Sports, TSN3, SNW, NHL.TV)

Sabres: Home against the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; MSG-B, CSN-PH, NHL.TV)


Video: Three-goal 3rd period helps Sabres claim 4-3 win

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