Meszaros scores twice again, Sabres top Coyotes

Jerry Brown  - NHL.com Correspondent | Tuesday, 03.31.2015 / 1:49 AM

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- It took Buffalo Sabres defenseman Andrej Meszaros 53 games to score three times this season. Suddenly, the goals are coming in bunches.

Meszaros scored two goals for a second straight game, more than doubling his total for the season, and the Sabres ended a five-game losing streak with a 4-1 win against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on Monday.

Meszaros turned a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 lead in the second period for the Sabres, who avenged a 4-3 overtime loss to the Coyotes at home last Thursday with their fifth regulation road win of the season.

"I'm not sure how to explain it. Just shooting the puck I guess," said Meszaros, who scored twice in the third period of a 5-3 loss against the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday. "Things are going in. Sometimes you try too hard and nothing happens, but if you just shoot it works out.

"We played a solid game even after we got down quickly. We had a lot of shots. We had a good third period [in Colorado] and we brought it to this game."

Defenseman Connor Murphy scored 1:17 into the game for the Coyotes, but Sabres goalie Anders Lindback shut Arizona out from there and finished with 28 saves.

With Buffalo clinging to a 2-1 lead, Lindback got the toe of his skate on Oliver Ekman-Larsson's power-play shot with four minutes left.

Brian Gionta scored a shorthanded, empty-net goal with 1:49 left to give Buffalo some breathing room, and Rasmus Ristolainen scored a second empty-net goal with 43 seconds remaining.

"To come from where he came from to play like that, he was like another defenseman back there," Buffalo coach Ted Nolan said of Lindback. "He looked like a true NHL No. 1 goaltender tonight."

Buffalo (21-47-8) has two wins in its past 14 games, both on the road. The Sabres hadn't won since March 17, a 2-1 overtime victory against the Boston Bruins.

"The last few weeks, we've given what we have to give and it's nice to be rewarded for it," Nolan said. "That was a great effort."

The Coyotes (23-46-8) continue to struggle at home, where they are 0-7-1 in the past eight games and 1-15-2 in the past 18. Goalie Mike Smith was solid and made 32 saves, but Arizona still fell short.

"We didn't come to work, obviously," Murphy said. "We left Smitty out to dry and we didn't show the effort you need to in front of your own home crowd. We got the results we deserved for how we played. It would have been way [worse] of an outcome as far as goals if it wasn't for him."

With Coyotes forward David Moss camped in the Sabres crease, Sam Gagner fed Murphy for a shot from the point. Moss lifted his skate and the puck went between his legs and deflected off a screened Lindback and into the net at 1:17. Murphy's fourth goal of the season was his first in 26 games.

"We started OK, but we didn't have much jump," Moss said. "You can see it for the first period because we're coming back off a road trip, but there's no excuse for the last two periods."

Buffalo dominated the rest of the first period, putting 12 shots on goal. But Smith saved them all, robbing center Cody Hodgson twice, once on a rebound of a Zach Bogosian shot and again with the pad while Hodgson was all alone in front of the crease with 1:35 left.

Buffalo used a high-sticking penalty to Jordan Szwarz early in the second period to even the game. With Mikhail Grigorenko battling Craig Cunningham in front of the Coyotes net, Meszaros put a shot through traffic and over Smith's shoulder at 4:27.

Smith made strong saves on Nicolas Deslauriers and Nikita Zadorov to keep the game even before Meszaros struck again at 13:36.

Deslauriers dug the puck out of the corner and slid it to Meszaros. With Zac Delpe screening in front, Meszaros put a low shot into the far corner for his second straight two-goal game to give Buffalo a 2-1 lead.

"It was a great job by our guys of going to the net and we have to do that more," Meszaros said. "Every good goalie will save the puck from the blue line when he sees it."

Buffalo had the lead, but had to kill two third-period penalties and get several good saves from Lindback to become the last NHL team to reach 50 points this season.

"We worked hard for this win," said Gionta, who had an assist on Ristolainen's goal. "There is a lot of pride and character in this room and we are pushing hard to the end."

Scoring Summary
1st Period
01:17ARI Connor Murphy (4) ASST: Sam Gagner (25), Klas Dahlbeck (3) 1 - 0 ARI
2nd Period
04:27BUF PPG - Andrej Meszaros (6) ASST: Andre Benoit (7), Mikhail Grigorenko (3) 1 - 1 Tie
13:36BUF Andrej Meszaros (7) ASST: Nicolas Deslauriers (10), Zac Dalpe (2) 2 - 1 BUF
3rd Period
18:11BUF SHG - EN - Brian Gionta (11) ASST: Marcus Foligno (11), Mike Weber (6) 3 - 1 BUF
19:17BUF EN - Rasmus Ristolainen (8) ASST: Brian Gionta (17), Matt Moulson (27) 4 - 1 BUF
Three Stars of the Game
Andrej Meszaros
Andrej Meszaros
G: 2Shots: 3
A: 0Hits: 3
PTS: 2PIM: 0
+/-: 1TOI: 20:53
Anders Lindback
Anders Lindback
SA: 29TOI: 60:00
GA: 1EV: 25-26
PIM: 0PP: 3-3
SV%: .966SH: 0-0
Connor Murphy
Connor Murphy
G: 1Shots: 1
A: 0Hits: 1
PTS: 1PIM: 0
+/-: -1TOI: 18:11
Penalty Summary
1st Period
2nd Period
02:57ARI Jordan Szwarz  Hi-sticking against  Cody Hodgson
20:00BUF Mike Weber  Roughing against  Tye McGinn
20:00ARI Tye McGinn  Roughing against  Mike Weber
3rd Period
10:10BUF Zach Bogosian  Holding against  Martin Erat
16:22BUF Nikita Zadorov  Hooking against  Oliver Ekman-Larsson
shots by period
Team Stats
Power Plays1/10/2
Faceoff Wins2036
Blocked Shots1917
Penalty Minutes64
6M. WeberD0112222:26
12B. GiontaR1126018:56
19C. HodgsonC0003013:07
20Z. DalpeC0103014:20
22J. LarssonL0011018:55
25M. GrigorenkoC01-13015:32
26M. MoulsonL0113017:58
36P. KaletaR0001011:31
37M. EllisL0000011:50
41A. MeszarosD2013020:53
44N. DeslauriersL0112011:55
47Z. BogosianD0012224:00
51N. ZadorovD0001213:30
55R. RistolainenD1022022:29
59T. SchallerC0002010:13
61A. BenoitD01-10017:26
82M. FolignoL0101017:34
84P. VaroneC0011011:25
35A. Lindback2829.96660:00
5C. MurphyD10-11018:11
8T. RiederR00-14019:00
9S. GagnerC01-12019:22
10M. EratR00-10019:12
14J. VitaleC000109:34
17J. MooreD00-11020:04
18D. MossR0001015:39
19S. DoanR00-14021:18
20T. McGinnL00-10211:30
21J. SzwarzR00-10211:43
22C. CunninghamL000109:34
24K. ChipchuraC00-11012:42
26M. StoneD00-13020:29
34K. DahlbeckD0102018:24
36M. ArcobelloR00-13018:17
44B. CrombeenR000209:51
45A. CampbellD0000018:15
41M. Smith3234.94158:48