BUFFALO, N.Y. – Johnny Oduya scored 57 seconds into overtime, lifting the Winnipeg Jets to a 2-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday night.
Oduya fired a wrist shot from the left circle, beating Buffalo goalie Jhonas Enroth over his left shoulder.
“I don’t get in that spot too many times,”said Oduya, a veteran defenceman who scored just his 22nd career goal _ and third in overtime _ in 422 games.“I was pretty much trying to shoot high and get a good shot off.”
His goal came off a lead pass from Evander Kane after Buffalo’s Tyler Myers gave up the puck in the neutral zone.
“I’m done scoring goals,”Kane joked.“I’m strictly passing now. He’s a simple defenceman, but he has some skill and can make some plays.”
Buffalo’s Ville Leino believed he scored the apparent go-ahead goal with 1:45 remaining, but play had been whistled dead prior to Leino jabbing the puck away from Winnipeg goalie Ondrej Pavelec and into the net.
Blake Wheeler also scored for Winnipeg, which snapped a two-game losing streak and improved to 6-10-4 on the road. Pavelec finished with 31 saves.
“We knew we didn’t play well the last two games,”Pavelec said, referring to losses at Montreal and Toronto in which the Jets were outscored 11-3.
“We responded well and were way better. You’re not going to play great all season, but it’s always about how you respond and bounce back.”
Tyler Myers scored for Buffalo, which fell to 1-4-1 in its past six and 2-7-1 in its past 10. Enroth stopped 39 shots, but is 1-7-2 in his past 10 decisions.
“It’s tough to win a game with one goal,”said Enroth, who was somewhat of a surprise starter after Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said earlier in the week that he was prepared to use first-string goalie Ryan Miller much more.
“The decision was just the schedule,”Ruff said.“The amount of back-to-backs and the six games in nine nights coming up.”
Myers opened the scoring with 8:52 left in the second period, pinching in during a power play and tipping in a pass from the left corner by Jason Pominville.
Wheeler scored the tying goal during a two-man advantage with 4.2 seconds left in the period. After a flurry of chances featuring three saves by Enroth, Wheeler swatted in a loose puck along the left side.
Wheeler had a six-game point streak end Thursday in a 4-0 loss at Toronto.
The Sabres played most of the first period without Thomas Vanek, who leads the team with 19 goals.
About three minutes in, with Buffalo on its first power play, Vanek was struck in the midsection by Myers’ slap shot. He skated slowly to the bench doubled over in pain. He took another shift about three minutes later, but immediately went to the dressing room.
He returned for the second period and took regular shifts, eventually playing 13:31.
“He was playing hurt, but got through it,”Ruff said.“I don’t think there’s any issue of him (not) playing next week.”
Winnipeg’s Bryan Little came back from a lower-body injury which had sidelined him for eight games. He assisted on Wheeler’s goal, giving him points in eight of his past 10 games.
Notes: Buffalo played without C Derek Roy, who sustained an upper-body injury Friday against Carolina. His spot in the lineup was taken by LW Ville Leino, who had missed 10 games with a foot injury. … Jets C Alexander Burmistrov was scratched. Saturday morning Jets coach Claude Noel said Burmistrov was not well but denied he had the flu, instead saying it was a “upper-middle” body injury. Noel added that D Dustin Byfuglien might rejoin the team for the final game of a four-game road trip, Tuesday at Boston. … Pominville played in his 500th game, and F Cody McCormick appeared in his 300th. Vanek and Roy each reached the 500-game milestone on Dec. 16 against Toronto.