ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP)—Two nights after a two-goal rally led to two points, the Buffalo Sabres did it again.
The Sabres beat Boston 3-2 in a shootout Tuesday after being down 2-0 midway through the second period. Their only loss came in a shootout at Atlanta last Saturday, after the Sabres rallied for two goals to force overtime.
On the winner, Wild defenseman Kim Johnsson lost his stick in the corner, allowing Henrik Tallinder to send a pass out front to Roy at the right edge of the crease. During a scramble the puck crossed the line.
“We’re going to carry every win we can get. You’ve got to win a little bit ugly sometimes and you’ve got to get lucky,” Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff said.
With the Sabres trailing 3-1, Mair and Vanek scored 46 seconds apart late in regulation 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.
“We’ve been showing this all year,” said Vanek, who had 57 goals and 56 assists in two years with the Golden Gophers. “Obviously it’s not something we look for, to be down late in the game, but it shows good character for the team — never quitting.”
Minnesota coach Jacques Lemaire said his team played “good enough to win,” but lamented his team’s lack of aggressiveness in its own end in the waning minutes.
“It was a couple of plays around that we’re hoping to get the puck. We get out of position and they make a play and it’s in the net,” he said.
Lemaire noted that one goal was a result of an out-of-position defenseman and the other came on a defensive gamble that didn’t pay off.
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 the second on Pouliot’s goal.
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.
“The second period was great for us,” Backstrom said. “It feels bad to lose a game like this, but it’s hockey. We have to learn from this and be sharp and strong in the future.”
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.
“That was about the most embarrassing thing I’ve ever done in my life,” Miller said. “I took my eye off it to see where I could put it, and when I looked back the puck wasn’t where I thought it would be. So I tried to backhand it, and a guy kind of hit my stick.
“I figured if I played long enough I’d make the blooper reel.”
At least he could laugh about it.
“He came in after and said, ’29 saves and a goal is a pretty good night,”’ Ruff recalled. “I told him he has to buy the team dinner for every time you score.”
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 minor infractions.
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.