Pysyk lifts Sabres to 2-1 OT win over Coyotes

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 23, 2013 at 10:03 pm •  Published: December 23, 2013
Advertisement
;

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Mike Smith's unwitting mistake gave the short-handed Buffalo Sabres a 2-1 overtime win over the Phoenix Coyotes on Monday night.

With 3:47 gone in overtime, Sabres defenseman Mark Pysyk took a shot that hit Martin Hanzal and became lodged in the back of Smith's jersey. The Coyotes goalie retreated into his crease, unknowingly carrying the puck across the line and ending the game.

"I didn't feel it at all," Smith said of the bizarre goal. "I didn't know what happened. I knew that puck went up in the air but had no idea where it went after that."

Ryan Miller made 36 saves for the Sabres, and said he's never seen anything quite like Monday's ending.

"A little unlucky for Smith there," Miller said. "I think he'll be shaking his head for a while. It's a little bit of a Christmas present for us and we'll take it."

The Sabres started the game with just 16 skaters after a virus left Linus Omark, Cody Hodgson, Ville Leino, Marcus Foligno and Alexander Sulzer unable to play. Buffalo was only able to recall Pysyk and left wing Johan Larsson from its AHL affiliate in Rochester because the team was en route to the Spengler Cup tournament in Davos, Switzerland.

Tyler Ennis also scored for Buffalo, which is 4-0-1 in its last five home games after starting the season 3-12-1 at First Niagara Center.

The fans gave the Sabres several standing ovations throughout the contest, and the team went to center ice to salute them after the game.

"I play on emotion and when fans are just supportive like that, it's a huge boost," Sabres rookie center Zemgus Girgensons said. "First 30 games fans were there for us but we didn't play well."

Hanzal scored for the Coyotes, who concluded a four-game road trip with a 1-1-2 record. Smith made 30 saves.

Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said the odd ending fit his team's performance.

"The game is an honest game," he said. "If you're supposed to win, usually you can win. And we didn't deserve to win tonight, so those things happen."

Phoenix outshot Buffalo 15-3 in the first period, though the two best chances belonged to the Sabres.

The Coyotes opened the scoring 19 seconds into the second period when Hanzal raised his stick to deflect Connor Murphy's slap shot over Miller. The play was reviewed and it was determined Hanzal's stick struck the puck below the height of the cross bar.

Miller didn't like the call and directed blame to the NHL Situation Room in Toronto, which reviewed the goal.

"It hit the top of his blade and his blade was up high," the goalie said. "The puck wasn't rising, it was already over the crossbar in my mind so I think Toronto got it absolutely wrong."