One of the old Buffalo traditions showed up during the third period Friday. Fans started the goal countdown by shouting, “One, two, three … we want four!”
They got it in multiple ways. The Sabres scored their fourth goal, and it helped them get points for the fourth straight time.
Buffalo dropped Arizona, 5-2, to improve to 3-0-1 in its last four games. The Sabres have scored at least four times in all of the games, the first time the offense has done that since Buffalo did it in five straight from Feb. 20-March 2, 2007.
The Sabres won their second straight home game to improve to 6-8-1 in First Niagara Center. They are 11-12-3 overall.
Widening the lead: Marcus Foligno, who had no points during the previous 10 games, gave the Sabres a 4-2 lead with 7:57 to play. He took a pass from Nicolas Deslauriers along the goal line and slipped a shot between goaltender Mike Smith and the post.
Get shorty: The Sabres scored their first short-handed goal of the year with 17:20 left, bumping their lead to 3-1. Evander Kane did the honors on a breakaway, ripping a shot into the top corner.
Kane also scored into an empty net with 52 seconds left. He has a three-game point streak with four goals and two assists.
Sam strikes again: Rookie Sam Reinhart scored his third goal in three games to pull the Sabres into a 1-1 tie. He picked up the puck near the Arizona net, with his momentum carrying him below the goal line. Rather than go around the net, he quickly turned and banked in the puck off Smith with 7:17 gone in the second period.
Point machine: Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen picked up an assist on Reinhart’s goal. He has 13 points in 13 games, recording three goals and 10 helpers.
McGinn keeps rolling: Jamie McGinn extended his point streak to four games and gave the Sabres a 2-1 lead in the process. After the top line of Ryan O’Reilly, Evander Kane and Reinhart tired out the Coyotes with sustained pressure, Jack Eichel and McGinn hopped on the ice. Eichel sent a pass to McGinn in the slot, and the left winger put a low one-timer between Smith’s pass. The goal, just 50 seconds after Reinhart’s tally, gave McGinn two goals and five points during his run.
Down again: For the fourth time in five games, the Sabres gave up the opening goal. It gave fans their first look at dynamic rookie Max Domi. The forward got behind defenseman Cody Franson and took a pinpoint outlet pass from Martin Hanzal for a breakaway. Domi’s backhand beat Johnson with 5:32 left in the first period.
Domi times two: Domi cut the Sabres’ lead to 3-2 with 13:18 to play. After a faceoff tie-up in the Buffalo zone, the puck squirted to Domi. He knuckled the puck past the glove of Johnson, who had his view blocked by Buffalo defenseman Zach Bogosian.
Challenger: Sabres fans, who’ve booed coaches challenges after watching them go against their team, cheered loudly when the officials took a goal by the Coyotes off the board with 7:57 left. Video showed Hanzal whacking Johnson’s glove with his stick, preventing the goalie from catching Nicklas Grossmann’s high shot. The score remained, 4-2.
Boxed out: Johan Larsson stepped out of the penalty box and into a breakaway with 8:55 left in the second period. The forward deked right to get Smith moving, then tried to slip the puck into the left side. Smith, however, stretched out his right pad to give Larsson nothing to hit but the post. Larsson has no goals in 23 games.
Helping hand: The Sabres had two more near-misses in a matter of seconds just after Larsson’s chance. Kane fed Reinhart on a two-on-one, but Reinhart’s deflection went wide. Kane picked up the puck and tried to jam into an open net, but Coyotes forward Jordan Martinook got his stick in front of the goal line to thwart Kane’s chance.
Buffalo outshot the Coyotes, 10-7, in the middle period to take a 17-14 lead into the second intermission.
“All-Star” appearance: For just the seventh time in their 26 games, the Coyotes used former Sabres enforcer John Scott. The forward, who is a surprise leader in voting for the NHL All-Star Game, skated on the fourth line with center Boyd Gordon and right wing Steve Downie.
The Coyotes hoped to have captain Shane Doan back from a lower-body injury, but he missed his sixth straight game. Buffalo scratched defenseman Mike Weber.
Size difference: To celebrate Buffalo’s successful bid to host the 2018 world junior tournament, the Sabres had owner Terry Pegula and Dave Ogrean, executive director of USA Hockey, drop the ceremonial first puck. Taking the faceoff was 5-foot-7 Brian Gionta and 6-6 Hanzal.
Up next: The Sabres are off to western Canada for their annual three-game swing through Edmonton, Vancouver and Calgary. They visit the Connor McDavid-less Oilers on Sunday, then take on Ryan Miller and the Canucks on Monday. After a two-day break, they visit the Flames on Thursday. Buffalo returns to host the Los Angeles Kings next Saturday.