Buffalo’s Jack Eichel scored the game-winning goal 36 seconds into overtime as the host Sabres cooled off the Columbus Blue Jackets in a 2-1 win on Saturday afternoon.
The Sabres gained possession on the faceoff in the extra period and never relinquished the puck. Eichel entered the offensive zone from the left, moved over into the right circle and zipped home his career-high 31st goal on the only overtime shot. It was his team-best third OT winner this season.
Evan Rodrigues scored, and Rasmus Dahlin, Rasmus Ristolainen and Sam Reinhart contributed assists for the Sabres, who improved to 5-1-0 in matinee contests this season.
With No. 1 goalie Linus Ullmark out with a lower-body injury, Carter Hutton recorded 22 saves in his second consecutive start and moved to 7-8-4. Winger Kyle Okposo didn’t play after suffering an upper-body injury in Thursday’s 3-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens.
Oliver Bjorkstrand potted his team-high 17th goal, and Gustav Nyquist and Pierre-Luc Dubois added assists for Columbus, which played for the first time since Jan. 22 and earned a point for the 18th time in its last 20 games (15-2-3).
Also playing without its top goalie — Joonas Korpisalo, who missed his 13th consecutive game — Columbus turned to backup Matiss Kivlenieks, who stopped 22 shots in his second career start.
The No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, Dahlin faked Columbus forward Emil Bemstrom near the blue line, drew another defender to him and fed a pass into the slot to Rodrigues for his third goal at 16:08 of the first period.
The Blue Jackets appeared to tie it at 1 with three minutes remaining in the second after Cam Atkinson skated by Buffalo defenseman Jake McCabe, who fell on the play, and wristed a shot on goal from the right dot. The puck bounced out to the left side to Alexander Wennberg, who put it in for the equalizer.
However, the officials reviewed the play and overturned it, determining that Wennberg kicked in the puck with his left skate after missing a shot attempt with his stick.
The visitors did tie it in the third shortly after their second power play ended. Nyquist’s pass was tipped back to Bjorkstrand, who tallied at 5:45 to extend his goal streak to three games with his fifth marker in that span.
—Field Level Media