Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen was waiting to be announced as the first star of an overtime victory while teammates took off their gear in the KeyBank Center dressing room. Don Granato waited attentively, having received word from his video staff that the game might not be over.

The emotional rollercoaster the Buffalo Sabres rode over the past week proved to have one final turn on Saturday afternoon when an offside review overturned what appeared to be the game-winning goal by Owen Power scored with 2.0 seconds left on the clock in overtime – but not before the Sabres celebrated the win, saluted the fans, and both teams returned to dressing rooms.

The Sabres returned to the ice, replayed the final 20.1 seconds, then went on to win the game again. Tage Thompson and Alex Tuch scored goals in the shootout, which Luukkonen clinched with a blocker save on Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to reclaim his first star honors after a 30-save performance in the 3-2 victory.

“They probably made the right call on that,” Luukkonen said. “Those are the rules and you have to battle through that. In the end, we got the two points, so that’s all that matters.”

The game was Buffalo’s first in the wake of Friday’s trade deadline, which saw the departure of captain and longtime forward Kyle Okposo as well as veteran defenseman Erik Johnson. The team acquired defenseman Bowen Byram – already a friend to several players on the Buffalo roster – in exchange for another popular presence in the room, Casey Mittelstadt, earlier in the week.

The Sabres started slow, falling behind just 29 seconds in on a goal from Ryan McLeod. Warren Foegele doubled the Edmonton lead with a shorthanded goal later in the first period.

“We didn’t start as we wanted,” Luukkonen said. “That’s something coming off the trade deadline, and maybe mentally it’s not the perfect place to be as a team. Kind of refocusing after getting our feet back under us after the first and kind of sticking with it was a big thing today.”

Tage Thompson – playing at less than 100 percent after missing Thursday’s game in Nashville with an upper-body injury – buried a rebound on the power play to put the Sabres on the board late in the first period, then Jacob Bryson scored his first goal of the season to tie the game with 8:21 remaining in the third.

Luukkonen led the effort to keep the Oilers at bay in the meantime, stopping nine of the 10 high-danger scoring chances he faced (according to Natural Stat Trick). The Sabres penalty kill went 3-for-3, with Connor Clifton (3:58), Alex Tuch (3:35), and Rasmus Dahlin (3:24) all eclipsing three minutes of shorthanded ice time.

Edmonton entered Saturday ranked fifth in the NHL with an average of 3.51 goals scored per game. The Sabres held Connor McDavid scoreless, snapping the forward’s 13-game point streak.

“It took a while to get to good,” Sabres coach Don Granato said. “And, in the process of it, you had to really hunker down, fight, even fight the psychology of things over the last few days and all of that made it a little bit more emotional, I guess.”

Here’s more from the victory.

1. Luukkonen has now allowed three goals or fewer in 22 of his last 23 appearances since Dec. 30. He has a .931 save percentage and 1.90 goals-against average in those games, both of which lead the NHL in that span (minimum 10 games played).

2. Luukkonen made a pair of saves with his blocker in the shootout. The first was on McDavid, who was 2-for-2 on shootout attempts entering Saturday.

“He’s an unbelievable player,” Luukkonen said. “Kind of lucky that he’s that good, so I saw highlights before of what he’s going to do in the shootout. It’s kind of fun to play against. He’s so skillful and so fast. It was great to face him the first time, and it was good to get the win.”

After Leon Draisaitl buried a shot off the post to tie the shootout, Tuch’s goal put the Sabres in position to win with a Luukkonen save. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins drifted slowly right to left and attempted a wrist shot from beneath the hash marks, which Luukkonen swatted away with the blocker.

“I just tried to stick with it,” Luukkonen said. “I just used my size, and I really didn’t know what he was going to do, but usually they shoot low blocker in that situation. That’s what he did.”

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen addresses the media.

3. Thompson skated 17:10 and had six shot attempts, including two that hit the post. He battled for a bouncing rebound to score his 19th goal of the season, which put the Sabres on the board late in the first period.

“He wasn't 100% today,” Granato said. “I mean, I think everybody knows that, and made sure he was in the lineup.”

4. Byram did not receive an assist on Thompson’s goal, but it was his shot that created the rebound. He skated 25:46 in his home debut with four shots and was selected as player of the game by his teammates in the dressing room afterward.

5. Bryson picked up an errant pass inside the offensive blue line, skated into the right circle, and buried a backhand shot for the tying goal in the third period. He has played 16 games since Jan. 24, prior to which he spent a nearly three-month stint in Rochester.

“I think my stint that I had in Roch helped a lot, built confidence,” Bryson said. “Playing back here, it feels good, I feel more confident with the puck and I feel like I’m making good decisions on the ice.”

6. Granato credited the line of Victor Olofsson, Tyson Jost, and Lukas Rousek with playing a crucial role in the victory, with all three forwards having seen limited time in the lineup this season. Jost played his first game for Buffalo since Dec. 27 with Jordan Greenway out due to an injury.

The Sabres held an 11-5 advantage in shot attempts with Olofsson, Jost, and Rousek on the ice.  

“I was very excited for all of those guys,” Granato said. “… They stayed on it, they worked hard, and they were ready to go today. They were ready to take advantage of their next opportunity when they didn’t know when it was going to come.”

Up next

The homestand continues Tuesday against Detroit. Tickets are available here.

Pregame coverage on MSG/MSG+ begins at 6:30 p.m. with puck drop scheduled for 7. Radio coverage can be found on WGR 550.