The Wraparound: Sabres 4, Avalanche 2 - The Buffalo News

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The Wraparound: Sabres 4, Avalanche 2

DENVER -- Four goals in one game. Imagine that. It was enough for the Buffalo Sabres to squeeze out a win Tuesday night.

Evander Kane scored with 8:06 left to snap a tie and lift the goal-starved Sabres to a 4-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche. The win snapped Buffalo's four game-losing streak and its six-game losing streak in the Pepsi Center that dated just over 12 years -- to Dec. 4, 2005.

Kane took the rebound of a Jack Eichel shot off the back boards and beat Colorado goaltender Semyon Valarmov to the opposite post, jamming the puck by the Avs goaltender for his 13th goal of the season. Kane had not scored in six games -- and Buffalo had tallied just one goal in its previous four games.

Jack Eichel put the game away on an empty-net goal with 32.9 seconds left.

Strange events: A replay review that went their way on a goal by a defenseman put the Sabres into a 2-1 lead. Jake McCabe's disputed goal with 1:01 left in the second period -- the first by a Buffalo blueliner this season -- survived a lengthy offside review.

McCabe's floater from the left point eluded Varlamov, who was neatly screened by newcomer Scott Wilson. The shot came several seconds after Johan Larsson brought the puck back into the zone by poking it into the air.

The puck came out of the zone briefly but Wilson and Benoit Pouliot alertly tagged up on the play before Larsson retouched it, the point the NHL made in affirming the goal after a lengthy video review.

Drawing even: Nathan MacKinnon's second power-play goal of the game with 10:02 left beat Robin Lehner between the legs and pulled Colorado even at 2-2.

Drawing blanks: The teams were scoreless after 20 minutes and it was the sixth straight game the Sabres have not scored in the first period. They haven't talled in the opening 20 minutes since Nov. 22 against Minnesota, and they were in a 3-1 hole after the first in that game.

A shortie breaks the ice: Buffalo took a 1-0 lead at 5:32 of the second period as Pouliot converted a 2-on-1 break off a steal and pass from Ryan O'Reilly. Pouliot temporarily tied O'Reilly, Eichel and Jason Pominville for second on the team in goals behind Kane with seven. Eichel snapped that tie with his empty-netter, his eighth of the season.

Finally getting in front: The Pouliot goal gave Buffalo a lead for the first time in 265 minutes, 32 seconds, since the end of the 3-1 win over Edmonton on Nov. 24. The Sabres never had a lead in any of their previous four games.

Avs pull even:  MacKinnon tied the game at 1-1 with a quick snap shot that beat Lehner on the short side at 12:22 of the second. The goal came on Colorado's fourth power play of the night.

Alumni starters: The Avs' starting lineup included 2013 Sabres draft picks J.T. Compher and Nikita Zadorov. Compher, who never played for Buffalo after being drafted in the second round, started on the top line centered by former No. 1 overall pick MacKinnon while captain Gabriel Landeskog served the last of his four-game suspension. Zadorov, Buffalo's second first-rounder that year, started on defense with Tyson Barrie.

Compher entered the game with four goals and four assists while Zadorov had three goals and two assists. Both players were dealt in the 2015 deal to acquire O'Reilly.

In the press box: The Sabres scratched Zemgus Girgensons, who has no points since Oct. 14, and Josh Gorges, who had been on a normal defense pair during the morning skate.

A long time ago: The game came on the 41st anniversary of the Sabres' initial appearance in the Mile High City. That came on Dec. 5, 1976 as Buffalo beat the old Colorado Rockies, 5-3, at McNichols Sports Arena in their first meeting with that franchise after it moved from Kansas City. The Rockies are now the New Jersey Devils. The Avalanche moved here from Quebec in 1995.

Up next: The Sabres will fly to Chicago Wednesday morning and have an off day in the Windy City. They will practice Thursday in the United Center and meet the Blackhawks there Friday night.

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