BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Defenseman Mark Pysyk's first goal of the season gave the Buffalo Sabres a 2-1 overtime victory over the Phoenix Coyotes on Monday night at the First Niagara Center.
It's quite possible he won't score a more bizarre one all season. With the Sabres applying heavy pressure with just over a minute to play in overtime, the puck deflected high into the air. Coyotes forward Martin Hanzal whiffed trying to bat the puck away, and it got caught in goaltender Mike Smith's sweater. Smith backed into the net, and after a replay review, Pysyk was credited with the winning goal.
The Sabres won for just the second time in 23 games when trailing entering the third period.
Buffalo tied the game at 1 with 5:59 to go in the third period when defenseman Tyler Ennis beat Smith high to the blocker side. Ennis, the Sabres' diminutive center, made up for an earlier miscue when he missed an empty net in the first period after a pretty tic-tac-toe passing play with linemates Zemgus Girgensons and Matt Moulson.
Girgenson, the game's first star, was dominate for long stretches of the game. He kept the puck in the Phoenix zone and picked up the primary assist on Ennis' eighth goal of the season.
After a scoreless first period, the Coyotes struck just 19 seconds into the second period. Hanzal battled for position with Sabres defenseman Henrik Tallinder and scored his 10th goal of the season by deflecting a point shot from defenseman Connor Murphy past goalie Ryan Miller.
The goal stood up after a lengthy video review to determine whether Hanzal's stick was above the cross bar was ruled inconclusive.
The Sabres' depleted roster took another hit in the second period when right winger Drew Stafford drew a five-minute major and game misconduct for elbowing Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekmund-Larsson with 8:44 remaining in the second period.
Buffalo started the game with just 16 skaters. The last time that happened was Jan. 7, 1981, during a 5-1 victory vs. Quebec.
NOTES: A flu bug has been making its way through the Sabres' dressing room. As a result, LW Linus Omark, LW Ville Leino, D Alexander Sulzer and LW Marcus Foligno were scratched. ... In need of reinforcements, the Sabres recalled D Mark Pysyk and LW Johan Larsson from their American Hockey League affiliate in Rochester. ... Coyotes LW Tim Kennedy played against his hometown team Monday night. Kennedy was born and raised in Buffalo, and played for the Sabres as a rookie in 2009-10. Kennedy came into the game on a 10-game scoreless streak, but is playing on the top line in Phoenix with RW Radim Vrbata and C Martin Hanzal. ... Coyotes G Mike Smith made his 31st start of the season, one off the NHL high. Smith led the league in shots against (968) and saves (884) coming into Monday.