CHICAGO -- In a game they led three times, the Buffalo Sabres endured heartbreak Thursday night in United Center.
South Buffalo native Patrick Kane banged home a Jonathan Toews rebound 56 seconds into overtime to give the Chicago Blackhawks a 4-3 victory and deny the Sabres a sweep of their two-game road trip.
The Sabres suffered their 10th straight loss to the Hawks and have dropped seven straight here since 2007.
Close call: The Sabres nearly pulled the game out in regulation but Artem Anisimov scored with 2:04 left to pull the Hawks even at 3-3, banging home the rebound of a Patrick Kane backhander from the boards.
Eichel Alert: Jack Eichel's power-play goal at 1:10 of the third period snapped a 2-2 tie and gave the Sabres the lead. Eichel had drawn the penalty, getting hooked on a breakaway by Brent Seabrook with seven seconds left in the second period. He converted with a one-timer from the left circle after a neat backhand pass from Ryan O'Reilly.
The Sabres were 2 for 3 on the power play in the game, their first multi-goal output since their Dec. 6 win over Edmonton in KeyBank Center.
Eichel has eight goals in 17 games this season and the goal extended his point streak to five games (three goals, three assists).
In the net: After posting the win with a solid game Tuesday in New York, Nilsson got his second straight start and had another big game for the Sabres. Nilsson made 39 saves, with 19 of them coming in the first period.
Coach Dan Bylsma also said that Robin Lehner is a little banged up, so the decision was not solely about Nilsson (6-3-4) winning his last start and having a much better record than Lehner's 8-12-5 mark.
"Same with a number of players. It's not something that would keep him out of the lineup," Bylsma said of Lehner. "He's had some bumps and bruises the last few games he's played. Both things go into the decision but Anders getting the win in New York and playing well, he's going to get the opportunity again."
Sabres' objective off the start: They wanted to get on pucks and push into the Chicago zone. "You look at the New York game and we covered them in the zone right from the start and it has to be our mindset to do that every game," said Marcus Foligno. "You have to outskate teams, outhit teams, have more zone time. It will create a better game."
Reaching the goal: The Sabres failed miserably. A Jake McCabe turnover led to a Jonathan Toews breakaway after 50 seconds that Nilsson stopped but it set a tone. Chicago had the game's first eight shots and 11 of the first 12. The count ended 20-6 after the first period.
Turning the tide: Even though shots were 11-1, Buffalo took the lead on its second shot as Foligno scored at 7:21 of the first period. He capitalized on a Brent Seabrook turnover and beat Corey Crawford with a drive from the left circle for his sixth goal of the season.
Hawks finally pull even: Ryan Hartman got his seventh of the season at 16:20 of the first to tie the game, beating Nilsson with a laser to the top corner after he burned Taylor Fedun with a slick move in the Buffalo zone after grabbing the puck in the neutral zone.
In front, for just a bit: Kyle Okposo put the Sabres ahead, 2-1, on a power-play goal at 18:10 of the second period by jamming the puck past Crawford at the left post. But the lead lasted only 18 seconds as Anisimov scored at 18:28 on a quick shot from the right circle that deflected off Rasmus Ristolainen.
The O'Reilly Factor: O'Reilly returned to the lineup after missing four games due to an appendectomy. He centered Zemgus Girgensons and Brian Gionta on the third line and assisted on the goal by Okposo as well as the tally by Eichel. It was his first multi-point game since Edmonton victory.
Sick bay: William Carrier, who missed practice Wednesday due to the flu, did not take part in Thursday's optional morning skate and he was out of the lineup to make room for O'Reilly to return.
Up next: The Sabres will practice Friday in KeyBank Center and will then host Winnipeg Saturday afternoon at 1. Former Buffalo defenseman Tyler Myers, who has been out since early November with a lower-body injury, rejoined the team on this road trip and took the morning skate in a non-contact role Tuesday in Tampa. His return date is uncertain; Myers also missed last year's Jets trip to Buffalo due to injury.