Everybody seemed happy on Friday following a game in which the Sabres squandered a two-goal lead in the final two minutes before bouncing back to beat the Lightning 4-3 on Briere’s goal with 1:59 left in the extra period.
“Roller coaster,” Briere said with a wide grin. “That’s the best word I could find tonight.”
Andreychuk scored twice and assisted on Cory Stillman’s game-tying goal with 54.1 seconds remaining.
Andreychuk’s two goals came on the power play, including the 265th of his career to regain the all-time league lead; Brett Hull scored his 263rd on Wednesday.
“We’re happy with the point,” said Andreychuk. “We kept battling back.”
The former Sabre was happier still that he had a special night in his former hometown, where he spent parts of 12 seasons.
At 40, and with a potential NHL labor stoppage looming next season, Andreychuk noted this could be his last game in Buffalo.
“I wanted to put on a pretty good show,” the Lightning captain said. “I had a lot of family and friends, so I feel good that my last game in Buffalo— possibly—was a good one.”
It was Andreychuk’s first two-goal game since Dec. 29, 2002. He had a chance to score a third with a breakaway in overtime, but was foiled by Martin Biron’s glove save.
Briere sealed it a few minutes later on a two-on-the-goalie break.
Satan carried the puck up the right wing and, from the right circle, fed a pass across to Briere, who snapped it at the net. Goalie John Grahame got a piece of the shot, but the puck had enough momentum to dribble over the goal line.
The Lightning lost their second straight overtime game following Thursday’s 4-3 loss at St. Louis.
For a game in which Buffalo and Tampa Bay combined for 13 shots on net through 32 minutes, it finished with a flourish.
Down 3-1, the Lightning were on the power play when they pulled their goalie for an extra skater. The gamble paid off when Andreychuk scored with 1:43 remaining.
Stillman connected 49 seconds later, capping a wild scramble in front. Biron made several stops, but couldn’t smother the puck. Stillman finally got to it to the right of the net and flipped it over the sprawled goaltender.
The Sabres (28-26-6-1) now have one more win than they managed last season, and moved two games above .500 for the first time since opening last season with two victories.
The win also set up an important showdown for the Sabres on Saturday, when they travel to play the New York Islanders. Ninth-place Buffalo moved within three points of the Islanders, who are tied with Montreal for the Eastern Conference’s final two playoff spots.
Sabres coach Lindy Ruff wasn’t happy with his team’s overall performance, but the win is what counted.
“We won a game where we didn’t play particularly our best game,” Ruff said. “But no one’s going to quit. We made the right play at the right time to win the game.”
Tampa Bay coach John Tortorella was frustrated with the play of Grahame. Campbell beat him through the legs, while Satan’s second goal dribbled through the goalie’s glove.
It’s additionally disappointing after No. 1 goalie Nikolai Khabibulin struggled in the loss to St. Louis.
“I’m very concerned about both of our guys,” Tortorella said. “Plain andsimple, you need saves. We need some help there. Enough said? Good.”
The Sabres honored former defenseman Tim Horton, who died in a single-car crash following a Buffalo game at Toronto 30 years ago Saturday. Horton’s No. 2, which already hangs in the HSBC Arena rafters, was painted into the ice behind both goals. … Lightning RW Martin St. Louis had an assist on Andreychuk’s first goal, extending his points streak to seven games (five goalsand seven assists).