Overtime had just started and New Jersey defenseman Andy Greene got the puck and was nearly clear as he charged in on Buffalo Sabres goaltender Anders Nilsson.
Evander Kane tried to get back, and somewhere between a hook and hold turned Greene so he couldn't get off a shot.
Up went the referee's arm.
Then he pointed to center ice.
The penalty turned into a penalty shot, one that Greene buried to give the Devils a 2-1 overtime win against the Sabres in KeyBank Center Friday night.
"Tough play," Kane said. "I was just trying to get back and obviously prevent him from getting a breakaway and what happened, happened."
"I thought it was pretty even with Kaner and Greene," Sabres forward Matt Moulson said. "But obviously they saw it a little differently."
As for Greene, he wasn't sure what the call would be but was surprised as well that it was penalty shot.
"I didn't look at the ref when it happened," Greene said. "I knew from the reaction of the crowd that something was going to happen.
"I was just getting ready to pull (the puck) in and get a shot off and he got a little piece of me. I wasn't quite sure if it was going to be a penalty shot. You never know exactly how they're going to call it but it worked out obviously. It's close. It's tough to call it."
Kane took one other penalty in the game -- a double minor for high sticking in the third period. He recorded four hits and two shots on goal as the Sabres continue to search for consistent offense.
"We had some Grade-A chances that we didn't put away," Kane said. "It seems to be the theme the last little while here and we've got to find a way to change that."
Just when you thought Ryan O'Reilly was back, he wasn't. The center missed the final 16 games of the game after sitting Wednesday's contest with Ottawa with a middle body injury.
Sabres coach Dan Byslma said O'Reilly re-aggravated the injury.
"It wasn't like he went into the game playing with an injury," Bylsma said. "It wasn't a battle-through-it. He felt find to go. I haven't talked to him other than to know he re-aggravated it in the faceoff circle in the third period. Obviously it's day to day at this point."
Bylsma was uncertain if O'Reilly could play Saturday when the Sabres play the Devils in New Jersey, but with a scheduled day off on Sunday and no game until Tuesday at St. Louis, Bylsma thinks the injury will be short-term.
"I don't see it lingering longer than having that chance to get some rest," Bylsma said.
Lost in the injury was O'Reilly's 200th NHL assist, recorded on Moulson's goal. O'Reilly went 7 for 7 on faceoffs and logged 15:41 o ice time, including 4:09 on the penalty kill.
That's better news than the word on forward Tyler Ennis.
Ennis, thought to be out two to three weeks, could miss up to two months, according to a source who said the forward underwent surgery for a double sports hernia. The team announced groin surgery for Ennis on Thursday.
Through the first 13 games off the season, the Sabres had lost 44 man games due to injury not counting Cody McCormick who has been out since last year with blood clots.
The power play has been a magical place for Moulson this season. All five of his goals have come with the man advantage, tying him with Patrick Laine and Wayne Simmonds for the NHL lead in power-play goals.
Moulson has been quick to credit his teammates with each tally, usually using the phrase "lucky bounce."
"I think when our power play is on, everyone is kind of creating chances," Moulson said. "It's whoever that open guy is, is getting the chance. Sometimes that's me, sometimes that's other guys. You just have to take advantage when you have a guy that's open and capitalize."
Moulson has capitalized often this year. He now has five goals in 14 games. Last year he scored eight goals in 81 games.
Justin Falk made his Sabres debut Friday, playing 12:24 with one shot while being on the ice for the Devils' game-tying goal in the third. The 28-year-old Falk has 171 career NHL games to his credit and has been on the AHL-NHL shuffle most of the last three seasons. In nine games with the Amerks this season, he has a plus-three rating.
While not one of the "young prospects," Falk is part of the depth the Sabres hoped it would have in the organization to deal with situations like this.
"I think it's 34 or 35 people that play for your team. It's not just the 21 or 22 that you start with on your roster at the beginning of the year," Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said. "I think the average is 34 in the league that play for an NHL roster," in a season "and we’ve had a number of opportunities for these guys to come up and show what they can do and how they can play. You see some of them grab the opportunity and run with it and that's kind of what we need. We expect that these guys can come up and do a job for us and play in a certain role and they're getting that chance."