Jack Eichel's goal 36 seconds into overtime lifted the Buffalo Sabres to a 2-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday at KeyBank Center.
He has seven game-winning goals this season, which is tied for third in the NHL and three overtime goals this year (3rd in the league). Eichel's eight career overtime goals are the most ever scored by a member of the Sabres.
After Curtis Lazar won the draw to start the extra period, he hurried to the bench and then Eichel, Sam Reinhart and Rasmus Ristolainen set up play in the offensive zone. Eichel carried the puck and worked for his shot that beat goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks for his 31st goal of the season.
Carter Hutton, the game's First Star, made 22 saves. It marked his first win since Oct. 22.
Evan Rodrigues scored Buffalo's other goal for his third of the season. He three goals in his last five games played.
Hutton didn't see a lot of action in the first period, but he had to be sharp when the shots did come. He made two big saves on the Blue Jackets' first power play of the game, which came midway through the opening period. And with 4:34 left in the first, Hutton made a save on Pierre-Luc Dubois on the doorstep and then Lawrence Pilut was able to kick the puck under Hutton's pad for a whistle. Hutton made five saves in the first 20 minutes.
Rodrigues scored with 3:52 in the first period to give Buffalo a 1-0 lead. Rasmus Dahlin skated down the left wings boards from the point and fed Rodrigues for a one-timer. It was Rodrigues' third goal of the year.
With 3:00 left in the second period, Columbus found the back of the net, but after review it was determined that Alexander Wennberg kicked the puck in, so the goal was taken off the board and the Sabres remained up by one.
Hutton kept Columbus off the board early in the third period as well with a series of stops. However, Columbus finally found the back of the net when Oliver Bjorkstrand's shot from the slot made its way past Hutton 5:45 into the third.
That set the stage for a tight third period and a quick overtime.
What it means
Buffalo is now 23-22-7 on the season and 15-8-3 at home. The team improved to 5-1-2 in afternoon games this season, including a 5-1-0 record at home.
Reinhart, who assisted on Eichel's goal, has now recorded 13 points (6+7) in the Sabres' last 13 games, including at least a point in nine of the last 11 (6+6).
Dahlin recorded the lone assist on Buffalo's first goal and now has points in eight of Buffalo's last 10 games, totaling nine points (1+8) in those contests.
Defenseman Brandon Montour missed the game with a lower-body injury. He took part in pregame warmups, but was ruled out shortly thereafter. Lawrence Pilut took his place in the lineup.
Forward Kyle Okposo also missed the game due to an upper-body injury. Sabres coach Ralph Krueger said that Okposo could be out for a few weeks, but the team was still awaiting further evaluation. Zach Bogosian, meanwhile, is battling an illness and was unavailable for the game as well.
Roll the highlight film
Here's the overtime winner:
Video: CBJ@BUF: Eichel rips overtime winner from circle
The Sabres homestand continues on Tuesday when they play host to the Colorado Avalanche. Faceoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. with pregame coverage on MSG starting at 6:30. Tickets are on sale now.
Buffalo will return to practice on Monday. We'll have full coverage for you here on Sabres.com.