The host Buffalo Sabres, the hottest team in the NHL, got an overtime goal from Jeff Skinner to win their eighth straight game, defeating the Montreal Canadiens 3-2 on Friday afternoon.
Skinner had the tying goal with 2:26 left in the third period and then scored again, this time on a power-play with 3:06 expired in the extra session. He has 17 goals this season, which is tied for the NHL lead pending other results on Friday night.
This marks Buffalo’s longest victory streak since it tied a franchise record by winning 10 straight to begin the 2006-07 season. This season’s hot streak represents an amazing turnaround for a Buffalo franchise that ranked 29th in goals allowed and last in goals scored last season.
Rookies have fueled much of this Sabres streak, including Casey Mittelstadt, who scored Buffalo’s first goal on Friday, and star defenseman Rasmus Dahlin, who had an assist on Skinner’s game-winner.
Mittelstadt, the No. 8 overall pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, has four goals and four assists this season. Dahlin, the first overall pick this year, has two goals and 10 assists.
Veteran goalie Carter Hutton, the former St. Louis Blues backup, is another key. He made 31 saves on Friday to improve his record this season to 11-6-1.
Montreal backup goalie Antti Niemi made 37 saves but took the loss, dropping to 4-2-1.
Buffalo has won all three of its matchups against Montreal this season, all one-goal games and two decided in overtime. Hutton got all three of those wins, and the Sabres have scored 13 goals in those games.
The Sabres opened the scoring with 12:39 expired in the first period. Jake McCabe’s shot from the left point, was redirected by Conor Sheary off the right post, and Mittelstadt was alone on the doorstep for the easy tap-in goal.
Montreal tied the score 1-1 with just 1:48 left in the second period on a goal by Brendan Gallagher.
The Canadiens took a 2-1 lead on Andrew Shaw’s power-play goal with 8:18 gone in the third period. Shaw deflected a shot from David Schlemko.
However, Skinner took over from there, keeping Buffalo’s streak alive.
—Field Level Media