The Buffalo Sabres just can't beat the Vegas Golden Knights. It's always close, though.
The NHL's newest team won in its inaugural visit to KeyBank Center, earning a 2-1 shootout victory Saturday afternoon. After Vegas goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury stopped Benoit Pouliot in the fifth round of the breakaway challenge, Erik Haula beat Sabres goaltender Robin Lehner.
The Sabres and Golden Knights also went to overtime in their first meeting in Vegas. David Perron scored to give Vegas a 5-4 victory in October.
The Sabres fell to 13-4-1 in their first home game against expansion teams. The previous game was a 2-1 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Jan. 23, 2001.
Happy return: Justin Bailey was in the Sabres' lineup for the first time since Oct. 28. He's missed much of the season with injuries, but the right winger had four goals and five points in his last five games with Rochester. He dressed in place of Kyle Okposo (concussion).
He scored with 17:13 to play. Benoit Pouliot reached out to break up a Vegas pass at the Sabres' blue line, then chased the puck down the ice. He found Bailey alone in front, and the winger deked Marc-Andre Fleury to the ice and dumped the puck home while taking a tumble over the goaltender.
Bailey has three goals in eight games with the Sabres this season.
— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) March 10, 2018
Tied: Vegas took advantage of a pair of diving Sabres, tying the game at 1-1 with 4:14 to play. Goaltender Robin Lehner left the crease in an attempt to stop Derek Engelland, but the defenseman avoided Lehner and carried the puck around the back of the net. Sabres defenseman Marco Scandella then dived through the crease. Engellland's shot bounced off Scandella's glove and skate to find the back of the net.
To the box: Sabres defenseman Casey Nelson flipped the puck over the boards with 2:14 to play, giving Vegas a power play for delay of game. Buffalo's penalty killers did their job, sending the game to overtime.
Evenly matched: The teams were tied at 31 shots apiece after three periods.
OT chances: Lehner made a great save on Tomas Tatar, who was alone in front after a pass from Ryan Carpenter with 1:10 to go. The Sabres' Sam Reinhart had two close-range opportunities, and defenseman Brendan Guhle had a speed-filled drive.
Robbed: Vegas' Pierre-Edouard Bellemare raised his hand in celebration, believing he tied the game at 1-1 with 13:59 left. Lehner, however, made the save on the forward's point-blank shot to keep Buffalo in front.
Quiet start: The opening 20 minutes were far from enthralling. Neither team scored with Vegas holding an 11-7 shot advantage.
Busier second: The Sabres took 15 shots during the second period, but Fleury stopped them all as the teams again played a scoreless 20 minutes. Lehner stopped the Golden Knights' seven shots.
Having a scoreless middle period could be considered a win for the Sabres. During second periods this season, Buffalo has been outscored, 85-57. Vegas has outscored its opponents, 77-61, during the second period.
Promotions: With Okposo out, Sabres forward Scott Wilson joined the first power-play unit. He also played left wing on the top line with center Ryan O'Reilly and right wing Sam Reinhart.
Give them an A: With alternate captains Jack Eichel, Zach Bogosian and Okposo absent with injuries, the Sabres put A's on the jerseys of Jason Pominville and Rasmus Ristolainen. Ryan O'Reilly is the fourth regular alternate.
Out: Defensemen Victor Antipin and Justin Falk were the healthy scratches.
Milestone: Former Sabres defenseman Brayden McNabb played in his 300th game. A third-round draft pick by Buffalo in 2009, McNabb has played 37 games for the Sabres, 201 for the Los Angeles Kings and 62 for the Golden Knights.
Counting the house: The Sabres sold all 19,070 tickets. It was their fifth sellout in 33 home games and first since Dallas came to town Jan. 20.
Next: It's time for a break. The Sabres don't play again until hosting Toronto on Thursday, so they'll take Sunday and Monday off. They'll return to practice Tuesday.