ST. PAUL, Minn. – Derek Roy scored 44 seconds into overtime and the Buffalo Sabres rallied from a late two-goal deficit to beat the Minnesota Wild 4-3 on Thursday night.
Drew Stafford, Adam Mair and Thomas Vanek scored for Buffalo, 6-0-1 this season. The Sabres’ only loss came in a shootout at Atlanta last Saturday. Benoit Pouliot, Stephane Veilleux and Brent Burns scored for Minnesota.
With the Sabres trailing 3-1, Adam Mair and Thomas Vanek scored 46 seconds apart late in regulation for Buffalo to force overtime.
Mair deflected a shot past goalie Niklas Backstrom at the 16-minute mark, and Vanek, a former standout at the University of Minnesota, beat Backstrom with a rising shot from the left dot with 3:14 left in the third period.
Stafford took a pass from Roy, faked a forehand and shifted to his backhand before lifting the puck over Backstrom for a 1-0 lead at 14:43 of the first period.
Minnesota answered 9:57 into through the second on Pouliot’s goal.
Ryan Miller saved Pouliot’s initial shot and robbed Derek Boogaard in front. Off the ensuing scramble, the puck went to Pouliot in the right circle. His one-timer easily got past the fallen goalie.
Veilleux’s quick shot from the slot five minutes later went over the left shoulder of Miller, who dropped to the butterfly position too early.
Miller scored on himself 29 seconds into the third.
As he tried to clear the puck away from the oncoming Burns, he backhanded the puck from below the left circle into his net, causing him to look up in disbelief.
Buffalo, which averages an NHL-worst 24 minutes, 40 seconds in penalties per game, was whistled for just three minor penalties. Minnesota, fourth-least penalized team at 11:15 per game, was called for two minors.
Notes: Boogaard hasn’t scored since Jan. 7, 2006, a stretch of 119 games. … Buffalo C Tim Connolly (back) missed his seventh straight game; C Jochen Hecht (finger) dat out his fifth consecutive. Both are listed as day to day. … Minnesota played its third straight game without RW Marian Gaborik (lower body) and RW Owen Nolan (leg). Nolan might return Saturday. … The Wild held a “State of Hockey Tribute to the Naegele Family” before the game. Bob Naegele, Jr., the team’s majority owner until April, and a group of investors were instrumental in the NHL’s return to Minnesota. The city of St. Paul co-named the street in front of the Xcel Energy Center “Naegele Way” until the end of the month.