NHL Game Summary - Buffalo at Atlanta
(Wednesday, March 17th)
Final Score: Buffalo 4, Atlanta 3 (OT)
Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) - Derek Roy's fluke goal just 15 seconds into overtime lifted the Buffalo Sabres to a 4-3 come-from-behind victory over the Atlanta Thrashers at Philips Arena.
Jochen Hecht netted the equalizer and assisted on another goal, as Buffalo overcame a 3-1 third-period deficit. J.P. Dumont and Adam Mair also scored for the Sabres, who finally made it into the win column in the extra stanza after three straight overtime losses.
The win, combined with the New York Islanders' 6-4 loss to Florida, leaves the Sabres four points out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Andy Sutton registered a pair of goals and Ilya Kovalchuk had the other as the Thrashers had their brief two-game win streak ended.
Martin Biron picked up the win in an otherwise chippy affair, stopping 20 shots, while Pasi Nurminen made 29 saves in regulation before allowing the first shot of overtime to get by him.
Roy's slap shot looked harmless until it popped up off the chest of Nurminen and trickled over the goal line. Nurminen made a last-ditch effort with his stick to try to prevent the puck from going in, but he actually helped it along by tapping it home.
"The last game against Toronto, we had three fluke goals scored on us -- off skates, off sticks, off the goalie's pads," Roy said. "We just got some good luck today because we worked really hard all game. I think we deserved it."
Hecht tied it when he was able to chip home a centering feed from behind the net by Milan Bartovic with 6:13 remaining.
The Sabres rallied after a costly penalty by Atlanta's Francis Lessard put his team down a man for seven minutes at the 5:38 mark of the final period.
Lessard jumped Buffalo's Andrew Peters right off a faceoff. Peters smartly just covered himself up as Lessard pummeled away at him with a barrage of punches, and his team was rewarded.
Nurminen did his best to keep the Sabres, who even pulled Biron at one point for an extra skater, from cashing in but finally succumbed to their attack with just 15 seconds left on the power play. Mike Grier's rebound opportunity glanced off the far post, but Mair was there to jam it in to make it a one- goal game.
"We had the game under control," said Atlanta coach Bob Hartley. "With that seven-minute power play, though, we couldn't find momentum again."
Dumont opened the scoring with a power-play tally late in the first period on some wonderful tic-tac-toe passing. After Miroslav Satan spun around to avoid a check at the blue line, he passed the puck over to Hecht at the left boards. Hecht fed it down low to Daniel Briere, who turned and slid the puck across the slot to a wide open Dumont for an easy tap-in.
Atlanta evened it back up at 1-1 on a Kovalchuk tally 3:12 into the second. Shawn McEachern tried to throw the puck on goal from the left circle, but it was tipped by a Buffalo stick. The disc rolled across to Kovalchuk at the bottom of the right circle just as he flashed out from behind the net, and he fired it home past Nurminen for his league-leading 38th goal.
Sutton then netted a pair of power-play goals, his first of the night coming with 5:04 left in the second to give the Thrashers a 2-1 edge. He added another just 37 ticks into the third frame after a nice give-and-go with Dany Heatley to double the Atlanta margin.
Briere was injured 8:11 into the third period when he was on the receiving end of a Sutton elbow. He was down on the ice for several minutes before being helped to the locker room. The Sabres were already without Chris Drury because of a concussion and defenseman Alexei Zhitnik, who is sidelined with a shoulder injury...The teams combined for 125 penalty minutes as 11 fighting majors were handed out...The Sabres finished 2-for-9 on the power play, while the Thrashers were 2-for-6...Atlanta's Serge Aubin left the game in the second period with a thigh contusion and did not return.
03/18 01:46:38 ET