Buffalo ended its losing streak by extending its dominance over Los Angeles.
Ryan O'Reilly scored a dazzling goal while falling with 1:41 to go in OT, delivering a 2-1 victory over the Kings on Saturday night. Buffalo improved to 13-1-1 in its last 15 home games against Los Angeles.
The Sabres ended a three-game losing streak to improve to 12-15-3 overall. They have won three straight at home to move to 7-8-1 in First Niagara Center.
O'Reilly's goal was the 100th of his career.
Wiped out: Once again, the Sabres had a goal erased by the coaches’ challenge. The fans buzzed as Jack Eichel picked up the puck in his own zone and started up ice late in the second period. Their anticipation was rewarded when he slipped a slick backhand onto the stick of Jake McCabe, and the defenseman scored while streaking in all alone with 11.8 seconds left.
However, Kings coach Darryl Sutter challenged that the Sabres were offside. Replays showed that Buffalo captain Brian Gionta was a smidge ahead of the play because his trailing foot was in the air, and the team had its fourth goal of the year wiped out by the new rule. The game remained tied, 1-1.
The 18,133 fans booed the officials off the ice at the end of the second period and jeered them again when they came out for the third.
"I'd like a few more of them to go in our favor, but they got it right," Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said.
Streaking: Jamie McGinn scored the Sabres’ first goal, with assists from O’Reilly and Rasmus Ristolainen. It continued a torrid run for all three. It was the 17th point in 17 games for Ristolainen. O’Reilly extended his point streak to seven games, one shy of his career high. McGinn has a point in seven of eight games.
Swedish night: A pair of countrymen from Sweden made the start in goal, with Buffalo’s Linus Ullmark facing former Sabres netminder Jhonas Enroth. Ullmark, who was on an 0-4-2 slide, stopped 20 shots. Enroth, in his first start in Buffalo since being traded last season, made 28 saves.
Powerful start: The Sabres’ power play, which entered on a 7-for-21 hot streak, cashed in during its first opportunity to tie the game, 1-1. O’Reilly’s pass to the front caromed off Kings defensemen Drew Doughty and Brayden McNabb before landing at the feet of McGinn. The winger, with his back to the net, put a backhand between his legs and just inside the post with 7:19 gone.
Buffalo outshot the Kings, 12-3, in the opening period.
One for one: The Kings scored on their opening shot with 4:47 gone. Ullmark had no chance as some of Los Angeles’ best playmakers zipped into the zone. Tanner Pearson hit Anze Kopitar with a pass just inside the blue line to create a two-on-one, and Marian Gaborik had an open net after a cross-ice pass from Kopitar.
The Kings didn’t get their second shot until 4:49 remained in the period.
Scoreless second: Aside from McCabe’s disallowed goal, no pucks reached the net during the second period. Enroth made nine saves, while Ullmark had seven stops. The best save belonged to Ullmark, who slid across to get his left pad on Gaborik’s shot during another two-on-one.
Another chance: Matt Moulson entered the arena without a goal in 17 games, so coach Dan Bylsma attempted to spark him with a pair of talented linemates. Moulson moved to the right wing to skate alongside Eichel and left wing Evander Kane.
Moulson had two shots in 16:10 of ice time.
Still out: Forward Tyler Ennis missed his ninth straight game with an upper-body injury, while defenseman Mark Pysyk sat for the 12 game in a row with a bone bruise. Bylsma said both remain “week-to-week.” The healthy scratches were forward Cal O’Reilly and defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo.
Honored: The NHL and both teams saluted linesman Steve Miller for working his 1,000th game. Stephen Walkom, the league’s director of officiating, presented Miller with a crystal while captains Brian Gionta and Dustin Brown each gave the linesman a stick autographed by their entire team.
Up next: The Sabres’ busy month, which features 10 games in the opening 19 days, continues with another back-to-back set. Buffalo will return to Detroit for a matchup with the Red Wings on Tuesday, then fly right home to host the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday. It’s the start of three straight home games, with Anaheim visiting Thursday and the Chicago Blackhawks coming to town Saturday.