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The Wraparound: Sabres 5, Blackhawks 3

What do Patrick Lalime and Chad Johnson have in common?

They're the only two Buffalo Sabres goalies to beat Chicago in the past nine years.

The Sabres ended a 12-game winless streak against the Blackhawks on Saturday, snapping a tie with 1:56 to play and finding an empty net for a 5-3 victory. Buffalo was 0-9-3 in the last 12 meetings with Chicago, including 0-4-1 at home.

The Sabres' last victory over Chicago was Dec. 11, 2009. Thomas Vanek and Clarke MacArthur scored, while Lalime made 39 saves in a 2-1 victory. Since then, the Blackhawks have won three Stanley Cups.

Johnson made 34 saves as Chicago outshot Buffalo, 37-32.

Jack's back: Jack Eichel's absence from a high-ankle sprain came to an end at 15 games. The Buffalo center played for the first time since suffering the injury Feb. 10. The Sabres went 6-7-2 without their franchise player.

Eichel drew a hooking penalty with 3:57 to play, accepting a pass in the slot and driving the net to force Brent Seabrook to reach out with his stick. Just as the power play ended, Nick Baptiste tipped home a Marco Scandella shot to make it 4-3.

The end: Sam Reinhart scored into an empty net with 38.4 seconds left, earning a huge roar from the St. Patrick's Day crowd.

Short day: Sabres left wing Zemgus Girgensons departed with an injury midway through the first period and did not return. He was slow to get up along the boards with 8:41 remaining the first and headed to the trainers' room.

On the board: The Sabres entered the game with a 17-7-8 record when scoring first, and Benoit Pouliot gave them a chance to better that mark. After the Sabres won a faceoff in the Blackhawks' zone, Sam Reinhart sent a cross-ice pass to pinching Rasmus Ristolainen. The defenseman tried to set up Pouliot in front.

Chicago defenseman Jordan Oesterle and goaltender J-F Berube got a piece of the pass, but it still bounced to Pouliot for his 13th goal of the season with 1:50 left in the opening period.

No doubt: A four-on-four situation with Chicago's Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane on the ice? As expected, the visitors scored. Toews stickhandled and left the puck for Kane, who drew all of the Sabres' attention. No one picked up Oesterle driving to the net, and he tapped home Kane's pass with 8:15 gone in the second.

Back in front: Eichel also returned to the score sheet, helping give Buffalo a 2-1 lead. The center took a quick shot from the top of the left circle during a power play, and the puck glanced off Reinhart and over Berube. Ryan O'Reilly skated into the crease to push the puck over the line, recording his 20th goal of the season with 8:53 left in the second.

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Bad bounce: Sabres goaltender Chad Johnson kicked away a rebound of Tomas Jurco's blast, and it struck the leg of Ristolainen in the slot. The puck bounced into his own net, allowing Chicago to pull back into a tie with 5:45 to go in the second.

Chicago outshot the Sabres, 16-6, during the second period.

Quick start: Toews needed just 20 seconds of the third period to put Chicago in front. Johnson stopped Toews' shot, but the captain beat the goalie to the rebound, chipped the puck into the air and batted it home.

Toews has nine goals in 16 career games against Buffalo.

Quick answer: The Sabres' Nick Baptiste made it 3-3 less than two minutes later. He reached out to tip Nathan Beaulieu's pass/shot from the left boards, then celebrated his third goal in 22 games this season.

Goalie rotation: With three netminders on the roster, the Sabres will rotate the starter and backup. Linus Ullmark filled the reserve role Saturday while Robin Lehner was scratched.

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Injury update: Defenseman Casey Nelson sat out with a lower-body injury that's categorized as day-to-day. Justin Falk took his spot after being scratched in four of the previous five games.

Center Jacob Josefson missed the game with a lower-body injury that's listed as week-to-week.

In memoriam: The Sabres honor a U.S. veteran every game through the "Tickets for Troops" program. Saturday's honoree, former Army Sgt. Norbert Sliwinski, died last month. The fans gave a standing ovation to the teary-eyed family of the World War II veteran, who was part of the Normandy invasion.

Next: The Sabres will play the fourth game of their six-game homestand Monday when coach Phil Housley's old team, the Nashville Predators, come to Buffalo.

Photo Gallery: Sabres 5, Blackhawks 3

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