Scandella Beats Buzzer for OT Winner


Marco Scandella scored the overtime winner as the clock hit 0:00 to give the Buffalo Sabres a 3-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday night in Detroit.

Johan Larsson dipped his shoulder and drove towards the net with less than three seconds remaining in the overtime period. Instead of firing a last-ditch backhand on net at Jimmy Howard, Larsson dropped a pass for Scandella who ripped a wrister from the left faceoff circle to give the Sabres the win at Little Caesars Arena.

Robin Lehner recorded 35 saves en route to his 13th victory of the season. With only two games remaining before the NHL trade deadline, it is possible that this was Lehner’s final game in a Buffalo uniform. If that ends up the case, the Swedish netminder will go out on an extremely high note, as he was terrific throughout the game, and especially during the extra period where he made three huge saves and turned down other Detroit opportunities.

Rasmus Ristolainen got the scoring started with a little help from the Red Wing defense. After an errant shot from Nathan Beaulieu caromed back to Ristolainen at the point, the Finnish defenseman sent a wrist shot on net that deflected off of Jonathan Ericsson and past Jimmy Howard for his sixth score of the campaign. Larsson was battling in front with Trevor Daley which gave no lane for Howard to see the puck as the Sabres jumped to an early 1-0 lead.

Ericsson atoned for his mistake as he tied the game up early in the middle frame. Lehner attempted to play the puck behind his net, but it popped up and out in front of the cage. Viktor Antipin tried to clear but sent the puck towards the middle of the ice where Ericsson collected and fired a wrist shot past Lehner to knot the game at one apiece. It was Ericsson’s third goal of the season and was recorded as unassisted.

Evander Kane restored Buffalo’s one goal advantage with a power-play wraparound goal on a nice individual effort for his 20th tally of the season. Kane skated down the left wing and behind the goal before tightly wrapping the puck between Jimmy Howard and the left goal post to give the Sabres a 2-1 lead. With the score, Kane registered his third consecutive season reaching the 20-goal plateau, the fourth time in his career, as the 27-year old awaits the trade deadline to see where he will be playing the remainder of the season.

Detroit tied the game with just 85 seconds remaining in regulation on a 6-on-4 power-play score. Larsson took a bad tripping penalty and the Wings converted on the ensuing man advantage. Henrik Zetterberg won an offensive zone faceoff right to the stick of Frans Nielsen. Lehner got a pad on the initial shot but it scooted through his legs and Justin Abdelkader finished it into an empty net to make it a 2-2 game and force an overtime session.

Scandella potted the winner as the overtime session expired to run Buffalo’s record to 5-0-1 in its last six games as the road team, by far the best stretch of the season for the Sabres.

Larsson and Ristolainen collected multi-point efforts, the first for Larsson since October 15 in Anaheim. Ristolainen scored for the second time in the last three games and now has seven points in his past eight contests.

Buffalo will head to the nation’s capital for its next game against the Capitals on Saturday night. The Sabres will play again on Sunday back at Keybank Center, the final two games before the NHL trade deadline after which we could see some new faces in blue and gold.



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