Sabres overcome two-goal deficit to win

Mark Ludwiczak, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- After a rare strong start failed to produce a lead, the Buffalo Sabres didn't let a little adversity keep them down.
The Sabres rallied from a 2-0 deficit with four unanswered goals to defeat the Winnipeg Jets 4-2 Tuesday night. It was a strong, 60-minute performance from a team that might have folded under similar circumstances one month ago.
"We've seen the change happening," Sabres captain Steve Ott said. "I think that's what a good image of tonight is, the team didn't fold over first. We continued to stick with it and we played through it."
It was the first time this season the Sabres have won a game after they trailed after two periods.
A two-goal burst early in the third period led the Sabres' comeback.
Left winger Marcus Foligno tied the game 50 seconds into the third period, and left winger Matt Moulson gave Buffalo a 3-2 lead less than two minutes later on the power play.
Ott and left winger Matt Ellis also scored for Buffalo (8-23-3). Goalie Ryan Miller had 25 saves.
"The one thing we've been trying to work on is our consistency and just keep going," Sabres interim coach Ted Nolan said. "If you keep going, usually good things happen, and tonight was nice to see the team rewarded for not giving up and continuing to work."
Moulson scored the winning goal by redirecting defenseman Christian Ehrhoff's point shot on the power play. It was Moulson's team-best 12th goal of the year. Foligno had tied the game early in the third by going to the net and tipping home a pass from center Cody Hodgson. It was Foligno's first point in 12 games.
Ellis gave Buffalo a 4-2 cushion with his first goal of the year 13:38 into the third period. Ellis swatted Kevin Porter's pass out of mid-air and past Pavelec.
"The character has changed immensely over the last month and a half or so," Ott said. "We knew it wasn't an overnight process but the confidence continues to stay with games and play with any team. We knew they were gping to be a little tired in that third period as well, and if we didn't come we would've been mailing in a game and that would've been completely disappointing.
"That's not what happened. We came out strong, took control of the third period like we did the start of the game and we finished right through the end of it."
The Sabres dominated the first period, outshooting the Jets 19-7. But neither team was able to get a goal.
Center Mark Scheifele scored two goals 36 seconds apart to start the second period for Winnipeg (15-16-5), but the Jets were unable to thwart Buffalo's comeback. Goalie Ondrej Pavelec had 27 saves.
"I never really liked the game even from the onset," Winnipeg coach Claude Noel said. "We gave up 19 shots in the first, I think we thought that the opponent would fold up and play and obviously that wasn't the case. This league is too good to just show up and play. We're not good enough to play that way. If it wasn't for Pavelec in the first, we would have been out of the game right there."
Scheifele briefly gave the Jets control early in the second period on his two quick strikes.
His first goal came 1:02 into the second on an odd-man rush that ended when Scheifele ripped a wrist shot past Miller to the blocker side. Buffalo backed off of Scheifele, giving him plenty of time to skate through the left circle into the slot.
Scheifele scored again 36 seconds later by blasting another shot to the same part of the net from a hard angle inside the right circle.
It didn't last, though. Ott made it 2-1 midway through the second period on a one-timer from inside the left circle to jump start Buffalo's comeback. The Buffalo captain had no points in his previous 12 games.
The Jets have now lost four of their last five games over the past eight days.
"You've got to buy in," Winnipeg center Olli Jokinen said. "We've got a 2-1 lead and we didn't even play well but we've got to be able to close out games and at the end of the day as a player you've got to convert things that you can convert. You can't worry about other guys or anything else, you have to control your own emotions, your own focus. That's the way the game has always been played and that's the way it's going to be played for a long, long time."
NOTES: Before Tuesday's game, the Sabres recalled C Kevin Porter and D Chad Ruhwedel from AHL Rochester. Porter had 10 points in 12 games with the Americans since being sent down in October. Ruhwedel received his first call-up of the season. The Sabres also sent D Mark Pysyk, D Brayden McNabb and C Luke Adam to Rochester. ... Ruhwedel and LW John Scott were scratched for the Sabres. ... D Keaton Ellerby, RW Anthony Peluso and C James Wright were scratched for the Jets. ... The Jets had won six of their previous seven meetings with Buffalo (6-0-1) before the Sabres' victory on Tuesday.

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