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At the Horn: Sabres 2 - Coyotes 5

Buffalo sees another early lead slip away on road trip

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak /

In all three games of the Buffalo Sabres' current road trip, the team took an early lead, only to see the opposition storm back and win in regulation.

After seeing leads evaporate on Wednesday in Colorado and on Friday in Vegas, the Arizona Coyotes scored three goals in the second period to overcome a two-goal deficit to defeat Buffalo 5-2 on Saturday at Gila River Arena. 

Marcus Johansson and Jeff Skinner put Buffalo ahead midway through the first period, but the Coyotes scored five unanswered goals, to come away with two points.

Jonas Johansson made 26 saves in the first road start of his career. Antti Raanta turned aside 25 Sabres shots. 

What happened

Buffalo kicked things off with a pair of goals in quick succession in the first period. At the 7:59 mark Marcus Johansson collected a behind-the-net pass from Dominik Kahun and scored his eighth goal of the season. 

Then 44 seconds later, Skinner, skating hard to the front of the net, redirected a Wayne Simmonds backhand attempt into the net. 

With 5:46 left in the opening period, Johansson made a glove save on Lawson Crouse as the Coyotes forward skated in on a shorthanded breakaway to keep Buffalo ahead. 

However, the Coyotes then scored two goals in 53 seconds at the start of the second period to tie it and then added the go-ahead goal for good measure. 

Jordan Osterle scored on a one-timer in front 2:20 into the middle frame and then seconds after hitting the post, Phil Kessel netted one to make it 2-2 at the 3:13 mark.

On the ensuing faceoff, Victor Olofsson was hit along the Coyotes bench and limped off. He did not return. Olofsson missed 15 games earlier this calendar year with a right ankle injury. 

And at 7:30 of the second, Arizona was rewarded once again when Clayton Keller ripped one off the post and then skated through the Sabres defense to hammer home his own rebound. 

With 11:30 left in regulation, Johansson stopped Derek Stepan on a point-blank chance in front of the net. 

Keller scored again, shooting on a 2-on-1 with 6:01 remaining to make it 4-2. Oliver Ekman-Larsson added an empty-netter with 20 seconds to go. 


What it means

The Sabres are now 29-28-8 on the season with 66 points and 10-18-4 on the road. They're 0-3-0 on the four-game road trip. 

In the playoff race, Toronto defeated Vancouver and Florida picked up a point in a shootout loss to Chicago. Toronto holds the third seed in the Atlantic Division with 78 points in 66 games. Florida has 73 points through 65 games. 

Montreal defeated Carolina in overtime. The Canadiens are now at 69 points through 67 games and the Hurricanes have 75 points in 64 games. 

The Columbus Blue Jackets currently hold the second Wild Card spot. They have 76 points with 66 games played. 

Roll the highlight film 

Here are both of Buffalo's goals:

Video: BUF@ARI: Johansson, Skinner score in 44-second span

Coming up

The Sabres will wrap up the road trip on Tuesday. It's an 8 p.m. faceoff with the Buick Game Night going on the air at 7:30 on MSG. 

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