Sabres rally late to beat Canucks 4-3 in shootout
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Sam Reinhart returned after getting his lip stitched up to lead the Buffalo Sabres in a comeback victory.
Reinhart tied it with 1:47 left in regulation, 40 seconds after he set up Jeff Skinner’s goal, and Jack Eichel and Casey Mittelstadt scored in the shootout to lift the Sabres over the Vancouver Canucks 4-3 on Saturday.
“We always felt like we were in the game and that’s something we’ve really changed this year,” said Reinhart, who spent the latter half of the first period in the dressing room getting stitches in his upper lip.
Buffalo has won all eight games this season in which Reinhart has a point, while going 1-6-2 when he has not gotten on the scoresheet.
“Reino played awesome,” Eichel said. “I thought this was one of the best games I’ve ever seen him play. He was dominant.”
Eichel also went to the dressing room to get treated for an undisclosed injury midway through first period but returned eight minutes into the second.
With goalie Carter Hutton pulled for an extra attacker, Reinhart set up Skinner for his team-leading 12th goal with 2:27 left, then tied it when he put back a rebound from Rasmus Ristolainen’s slap shot at the left edge of the crease.
Nathan Beaulieu also scored, and Ristolainen and Rasmus Dahlin each had two assists in the Sabres’ second straight overtime win.
Hutton made 36 saves and stopped two shots in the shootout, including a final denial moments after Mittelstadt’s go-ahead score.
“The resiliency in this group, that never-out-of-it attitude, the ability to continue to fight, it’s tremendous,” Eichel said.
Loui Eriksson had a goal and an assist for the Canucks, who are 4-0-2 in their last six games. Jake Virtanen and Erik Gudbranson also scored, Antoine Roussel had two assists and Jacob Markstrom stopped 34 shots in the third leg of a six-game trip.
The Canucks also squandered a two-goal lead in Tuesday’s 3-2 shootout loss in Detroit.
“We’re playing some good hockey. It’s just unfortunate to give up that point,” Canucks alternate captain Bo Horvat said. “We had a pretty solid game for 55 minutes. It’s just a matter of closing it out.”
Gudbranson gave the Canucks a 3-1 lead on a long shot from the point 3:41 into the third.
The Canucks scored twice in a span of 1:10 late in the second period to take a 2-1 advantage. Markus Granlund sent a backhand pass from the end board to Eriksson in front for a tying goal with 1:44 remaining in the period. Virtanen skated around defenseman Zach Bogosian and slid a backhand from the right circle into the far corner for his seventh goal of the season to put Vancouver ahead.
Buffalo gained an early lead when Kyle Okposo threaded a long pass from the point to Beaulieu for a tap-in 4:43 into the first.
The Canucks were without Brock Boeser for a third straight game. Coach Travis Green said Boeser will miss the remaining three games of the team’s trip while he recovers from a groin injury. A Calder Trophy finalist last season, Boeser is listed as week-to-week but “will be fine,” Green said prior to Saturday’s game.
NOTES: This was the first meeting between Swedish rookie defensemen Dahlin and Elias Pettersson. The Sabres drafted Dahlin with the No. 1 overall pick this year, and Pettersson was drafted fifth overall in 2017 by the Canucks. Pettersson entered Saturday leading all rookies with 10 goals and 17 points. ... Buffalo traded D Taylor Fedun to Dallas for a conditional seventh-round pick in the 2020 draft. The pick is conditional on Fedun playing at least 25 regular season and playoff games for the Stars. Fedun has played with the Sabres’ minor league club this season. ... Gudbranson extended his career-best point streak to five games. ... Sabres F Zemgus Girgensons was a healthy scratch for the first time this season. He was replaced on the fourth line by Tage Thompson.
Canucks: At New York Rangers on Monday night.
Sabres: Host Tampa Bay on Tuesday night.