The years of frustration the San Jose Sharks have endured at the hands of the Buffalo Sabres are hard to fathom. But coming off their first trip to the Stanley Cup final, the Western Conference champions have quite the swagger going.
They even had a three-goal lead with less than 12 minutes to play Tuesday night in KeyBank Center. And even that wasn't enough. After a stunning third-period comeback by the Sabres wiped out a 4-1 deficit and got the game to overtime, Evander Kane gave Buffalo a stunning 5-4 win on a goal at 1:05 of OT.
Kane tapped home a Jack Eichel pass on a 2-on-1 before crashing into the end boards. It ws his second of the game and 16th of the season.
Buffalo is 10-0-1 against the Sharks in their last 11 meetings and 17-1-1 against them all-time at home.
The comeback starts: The Sabres were in a 4-1 hole and fans were heading to the exits when Ryan O'Reilly potted a Eichel pass on a power play at 9:03 of the third period to get Buffalo within two.
Making it interesting: Sharks goalie Martin Jones did his team no favors when Kane beat him to the post on a wraparound that got the Sabres within 4-3 at 11:36. It was Kane's 15th goal of the season. The goal stood after a long challenge to see if Tyler Ennis was offside entering the San Jose zone.
Getting even: Just 55 seconds later, Kyle Okposo took a Sam Reinhart pass and swept a quick shot through Jones to make it 4-4. The final tally was three goals in a 3:28 span.
Moving in front: The Sabres actually scored first in this one, with Matt Moulson collecting his 11th of the season at 7:24 of the first period by tapping the puck in just before it crossed the goal line on its own after Brian Gionta leaked it through the pads of Sharks goalie Martin Jones. Tyler Ennis got the other assist, extending his point streak to four games.
Chewbacca gets things even: Sharks defenseman Brent Burns earned his 34th assist of the season -- a figure higher than the point total of any Sabre -- with a blast from the point that Joel Ward tipped home at 14:03 of the first.
Moving in front: The Sharks took the lead at 17:13 of the first when Logan Couture beat Jack Eichel to the puck anad flipped it past Anders Nilsson, who had stopped Mikkel Boedker's shot but did not know where the disk had dropped. It fell just in front of him and Couture got their before either Eichel or Nilsson could find it.
Breathing room: The Sharks took a two-goal lead at 11:23 of the second when Melker Karlsson found himself alone in the slot and banged home a quick snapshot after Cody Franson was beaten behind the net and Sam Reinhart couldn't cover the slot.
An apparent coup de grace: Joe Pavelski made it 4-1 at 6:07 of the third with a one-timer on a Burns feed with Justin Bailey in the penalty box for high sticking. But then the Sabres woke up.
Chewbacca update: The two-point night moved Burns into sole possession of third place in the NHL with 57points. The only players who entered Tuesday ahead of him were Edmonton's Connor McDavid (60) and Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby (59).
Shuffling Buffalos: Sabres coach Dan Bylsma moved Marcus Foligno off his line with Eichel and Reinhart, instead putting Kane in that slot. Foligno played with O'Reilly and Okposo. Justin Bailey also got off the fourth line, moving to join Zemgus Girgensons and Gionta. Ennis and Moulson were on the fourth line with a center double shifting between them and Nic Deslauriers getting limited time.
On the blueline: Justin Falk's reward for his contract extension Monday was being a healthy scratch on Tuesday. Taylor Fedun returned to the lineup in place of Falk.
Up Next: The Sabres will get their lone off day of the week on Wednesday and then return to action Thursday when Anaheim is in town. The ultra-busy week continues Saturday in Toronto and wraps up when Vancouver plays here Sunday night.