The puck left the blade of Brandon Montour's stick and hit the back of the net, salvaging what was one of the Buffalo Sabres ugliest performances since their 10-game winning streak ended in November.
Montour, the defenseman acquired on the eve of the trade deadline, helped send the game to overtime with his first goal as a Sabre, and Conor Sheary scored the game-winning goal with 48.2 seconds remaining to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins, 4-3, Friday night in KeyBank Center.
The Sabres (30-26-8) rallied from a one-goal deficit after the Penguins (33-22-9) scored two power-play goals in 63 seconds late in the second period.
Following Scott Wilson's four-minute high-sticking penalty, Sidney Crosby and Patric Hornqvist scored for Pittsburgh. Nick Bjugstad also had a goal for the Penguins, who outshot Buffalo, 43-30, and had 20 shots on Linus Ullmark in the game's first 20 minutes.
Sheary scored twice and Jack Eichel added a goal for the Sabres, who went 12 minutes without a shot on goal and are 13-20-6 since their 10-game winning streak ended Nov. 29.
Opening salvo: Penguins defenseman Marcus Pettersson failed to break the puck up along the boards, hitting Sam Reinhart before going right to Eichel, who beat Murray for a 1-0 lead at 3:09 into the first period. Eichel's 23rd goal of the season extended his point streak to seven games, and he is on pace to become the first Sabres player to record at least 90 points since Daniel Briere had 95 in 2006-07.
Eichel is the first Sabres player with at least 70 points since Jason Pominville had 73 in 2011-12.
56 seconds: That is all the Penguins would need to answer, as Bjugstad's shot from the left-wing circle went over Ullmark's shoulder to tie the score, 1-1, at 4:05 into the first period.
Sweet revenge: Following Garrett Wilson's roughing minor, the Sabres capitalized on the power play with Sheary's goal at 8:30 in the first period for a 2-1 lead. Montour was credited with a secondary assist, his first point since joining the Sabres last Sunday.
Sheary, who has four goals in his last 44 games, twice won the Stanley Cup with the Penguins.
Odd first: The Sabres were thoroughly outplayed in the first period, despite leading 2-1 after 20 minutes. They were outshot 20-7 and needed Ullmark to make two highlight-reel saves.
Breakthrough: Hornqvist capitalized on Wilson's penalty by tipping Justin Schultz's shot past Murray to tie the score, 2-2. Crosby then one-timed a pass from Evgeni Malkin to give Pittsburgh its first lead with 1:39 remaining in the second period.
Crosby's goal, his 28th of the season, was the 438th of his career, tying Jaromir Jagr for the second-most in Penguins franchise history.
Injury updates: Forward Vladimir Sobotka (upper body) and defenseman Marco Scandella (lower body) were not available to play and remain day to day. Defenseman Casey Nelson was the Sabres' lone healthy scratch. Defensemen Kris Letang, Olli Maatta, Chad Ruhwedel, and winger Bryan Rust were out for the Penguins.
1,500: Linesman Brad Kovachik, a native of Woodstock, Ontario, officiated his 1,500th NHL game, which was commemorated with a brief ceremony before opening faceoff.
Next: The Sabres will not hold a morning skate Saturday ahead of their 7 p.m. game against the Maple Leafs in Toronto.