BUFFALO, N.Y. – Radim Vrbata and Paul Bissonnette scored 66 seconds apart in the second period to lift the Phoenix Coyotes to a 4-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday night.
Vrbata, who also scored into an empty net, tied it at 2 at the 8:35 mark on a wrist shot from the left circle, and Bissonnette connected on a rebound to put Phoenix in front. It was Bissonnette’s first goal since Feb. 1 and came with his mother watching her son play live for the first time in his NHL career.
Bissonnette is from Welland, Ont., about 40 kilometres away from Buffalo.
Shane Doan also scored for Phoenix, which improved to 3-1 on its current five-game road swing. Mike Smith made 43 saves for the Coyotes.
Luke Adam and Patrick Kaleta scored for Buffalo, which has lost two of its last three games while goaltender Ryan Miller is sidelined with a concussion. Jhonas Enroth, fresh from a 34-save shutout on Friday at Carolina, made 25 stops in his fourth straight start since Miller’s injury.
Doan opened the scoring seven minutes in, connecting on a slap shot from above the right circle. Adam tied it five minutes later, winning a faceoff and then tipping in a point shot by Jordan Leopold.
Kaleta provided Buffalo with its only lead in the opening minute of the second period, batting in a rebound.
After Vrbata and Bissonnette posted their goals, Buffalo was unable to regain momentum. Smith faced 15 shots from that point and was able to handle them all with little difficulty. Vrbata’s second goal came with 1:11 remaining.
Buffalo played the entire third period without defenceman Tyler Myers. No update was given on the nature of Myers’ absence.
NOTES: The Sabres had a moment of silence before the game for Milt Ellis, the team’s original public address announcer. Ellis, a member of the team’s Hall of Fame who announced from 1970 until 1996, passed away earlier Saturday. … Phoenix is the least-penalized team in the NHL, averaging 8.3 minutes per game. Raffi Torres incurred all seven of the Coyotes’ minutes against Buffalo. … Coyotes F Taylor Pyatt, who also played for Buffalo from 2001 to 2006, played in his 700th career game. … Sabres C Cody McCormick missed a third straight game with an undisclosed injury. Patrick O’Sullivan and Daymond Langkow were scratched for Phoenix. … Buffalo fell to 5-6 at home.