Gagner, Coyotes defeat Sabres in overtime

Joe Yerdon  - Correspondent | Friday, 03.27.2015 / 12:55 AM

BUFFALO -- It had been a long time since the Arizona Coyotes won two games in a row, but Sam Gagner helped change that Thursday.

Gagner scored 56 seconds into overtime to lift the Arizona Coyotes to a 4-3 win against the Buffalo Sabres at First Niagara Center.

Gagner's 13th goal came on the power play with Sabres defenseman Mike Weber in the penalty box for tripping. His slap shot from the left faceoff circle beat Sabres goalie Matt Hackett low into the left side of the net.

"I'm just trying to get a puck through," Gagner said. "We weren't getting enough pucks to the net. I thought we were doing a good job of moving on the outside, but I've got to find a way to get shots, and that was my only thought there."

The Coyotes (23-44-8) have won consecutive games for the first time since Feb. 1 and 3. They have four victories in their past 22 games.

"We came in with a mindset that we wanted to try to have our first two-game winning streak in a long time, and I thought we played hard," Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. "We made some mistakes, but [goalie Mike Smith] cleaned up a few of them, and we had our power play capitalize. One didn't count as a power-play goal, but it was right at the end of it, and then the overtime one, so we'll take the two-game win streak and move on."

Gagner also assisted on David Moss' fourth goal of the season. Moss tipped Gagner's shot from the blue line past Hackett for his third goal in the past two games, giving Arizona a 3-2 lead with 5:40 left in the second period.

"I think individually it's good, but I think more importantly for the team to get a couple wins is good," Moss said. "I think we've battled hard the last little bit here and haven't got the results we wanted. It's certainly frustrating, but I think these last two games have been really good for the team."

Sabres captain Brian Gionta tied it 3-3 with an unassisted power-play goal with 3:37 left in the third period. Gionta intercepted a clearing attempt by Coyotes captain Shane Doan and took a slap shot that beat Smith for his 10th goal.

"Yeah, that one, you'd like to have that one back, that's for sure," Tippett said. "Funny thing is, if you look at it, [Doan] did everything right, up to shooting it down the ice. That's just a bad break, and it's a good thing we bailed him out with a win in overtime."

The Sabres (20-46-8) have lost four straight games and have one win in their past 12.

Buffalo's 48 points are the fewest in the NHL. The Sabres are six points behind the Coyotes, who are 29th in the League standings.

Arizona came back strong after Buffalo took a 2-1 lead on Rasmus Ristolainen's power-play goal 8:37 into the second period.

"I thought we were playing well when we were down 2-1, just made a couple of mistakes," Tippett said. "We hung in there, and I thought our guys played well."

Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored to tie the game with his 21st goal 2:52 after Ristolainen put Buffalo ahead.

"Moss and Arcobello did a good job screening the goalie," he said. "I wanted to take the goalie, walk him to the side a little bit and then shoot it."

Ekman-Larsson's goal broke the record for most scored in a season by a Swedish defenseman. Fredrik Olausson, Nicklas Lidstrom, and Erik Karlsson each had a 20-goal season; Karlsson has 19 this season.

"It's pretty cool. That's pretty special and it's fun. He was my idol growing up," Ekman-Larsson said of Lidstrom. "I didn't know that, so that was fun."

Jordan Szwarz's first goal of the season gave the Coyotes a 1-0 lead 7:55 into the first period. Szwarz was alone in front of the net after Sabres defenseman Nikita Zadorov went to help defense partner Andrej Meszaros against Kyle Chipchura in a board battle. Chipchura won the puck and passed to Szwarz, who beat Hackett with a wrist shot to the top corner of the net.

"That was kind of the epitome of that line tonight," Tippett said. "They worked awful hard; it's good to see them get rewarded. [Szwarz], he's a scorer down in the minors; he scores more than he does up here, but he has the capability to do that. It was a great shot."

Tyler Ennis tied it 2:54 later with his 19th goal, which leads the Sabres, when he beat Smith on a 2-on-1 with Matt Moulson against Coyotes defenseman Michael Stone. Ennis left the game after the second period because of an upper-body injury and did not return.

"[He'll] be evaluated tonight and tomorrow," Sabres coach Ted Nolan said. "Hopefully it's short-term."

Smith made 32 saves, and Hackett 38.

"I felt good," Hackett said. "I thought I battled pretty hard. (I'm) pretty sore. That one's pretty frustrating."

Smith earned back-to-back wins for the first time since Nov. 4 and 7. He is 3-7-0 with a .933 save percentage in March.

"The first 40 or 50 games, he really struggled. Really struggled," Tippett said. "The last month or so, he's been good. … For whatever reason the first half of the season, he just couldn't get comfortable in there and now he's looked like he's back to his old self."

Scoring Summary
1st Period
07:55ARI Jordan Szwarz (1) ASST: Kyle Chipchura (9), Craig Cunningham (3) 1 - 0 ARI
10:49BUF Tyler Ennis (19) ASST: Matt Moulson (26), Johan Larsson (7) 1 - 1 Tie
2nd Period
08:37BUF PPG - Rasmus Ristolainen (6) ASST: Tyler Ennis (23), Brian Gionta (16) 2 - 1 BUF
11:29ARI Oliver Ekman-Larsson (21) ASST: Martin Erat (21), Mark Arcobello (12) 2 - 2 Tie
14:20ARI David Moss (4) ASST: Sam Gagner (24) 3 - 2 ARI
3rd Period
16:23BUF PPG - Brian Gionta (10) ASST: NONE 3 - 3 Tie
OT Period
00:56ARI PPG - Sam Gagner (13) ASST: Oliver Ekman-Larsson (19), John Moore (8) 4 - 3 ARI
Three Stars of the Game
Oliver Ekman-Larsson
Oliver Ekman-Larsson
G: 1Shots: 2
A: 1Hits: 0
PTS: 2PIM: 0
+/-: 1TOI: 28:15
Brian Gionta
Brian Gionta
G: 1Shots: 7
A: 1Hits: 1
PTS: 2PIM: 0
+/-: -1TOI: 24:50
Sam Gagner
Sam Gagner
G: 1Shots: 2
A: 1Hits: 0
PTS: 2PIM: 0
+/-: 1TOI: 17:12
Penalty Summary
1st Period
14:57ARI B.J. Crombeen  Roughing against  Patrick Kaleta
15:14BUF Matt Moulson  Slashing against  Joe Vitale
18:04ARI Tye McGinn  Charging against  Patrick Kaleta
2nd Period
07:40ARI Michael Stone  Hooking against  Tyler Ennis
09:26BUF Johan Larsson  Too many men/ice - bench
15:51BUF Nikita Zadorov  Holding against  Tye McGinn
3rd Period
00:59BUF Matt Moulson  Too many men/ice - bench
04:29ARI Connor Murphy  Holding against  Cody Hodgson
15:36ARI Connor Murphy  Interference against  Marcus Foligno
19:30BUF Mike Weber  Tripping against  Shane Doan
OT Period
shots by period
Team Stats
Power Plays1/52/5
Faceoff Wins3231
Blocked Shots1016
Penalty Minutes1010
5C. MurphyD0011415:32
8T. RiederR0003018:23
9S. GagnerC1112017:12
10M. EratR0123014:26
14J. VitaleC0001012:40
17J. MooreD0116020:38
18D. MossR1022013:14
19S. DoanR0004021:53
20T. McGinnL0003210:26
21J. SzwarzR1001013:58
22C. CunninghamL0101012:10
24K. ChipchuraC0105013:02
26M. StoneD0003225:38
33B. GormleyD0002014:58
34K. DahlbeckD0011017:05
36M. ArcobelloR0112016:44
44B. CrombeenR000029:48
41M. Smith3235.91460:54
6M. WeberD0002219:49
12B. GiontaR11-17024:50
19C. HodgsonC00-11011:09
20Z. DalpeC00-1206:50
22J. LarssonL0102022:22
25M. GrigorenkoC0001015:52
26M. MoulsonL0112221:52
36P. KaletaR00-1006:41
37M. EllisL00-10010:19
41A. MeszarosD00-12016:10
44N. DeslauriersL00-11013:12
47Z. BogosianD00-26029:10
51N. ZadorovD00-1029:46
55R. RistolainenD1013023:59
61A. BenoitD00-10020:06
63T. EnnisC1114016:03
82M. FolignoL00-12021:13
84P. VaroneC00-1005:44
31M. Hackett3842.90560:07