BUFFALO, NEW YORK – Matt D’Agostini and the last-place Buffalo Sabres caught Zdeno Chara and the Atlantic Division-leading Boston Bruins by surprise Wednesday night.
After squandering a 3-1 lead, the Sabres rallied for two goals in the span of 75 seconds to come away with a 5-4 overtime victory. D’Agostini sealed it by outracing a flat-footed Chara to a loose puck and scoring on a partial breakaway 22 seconds into the extra period.
Forcing the turnover at the Bruins’ blue line, D’Agostini managed to shift the puck from his forehand to his backhand and slip a shot in under goalie Chad Johnson’s pad.
“I could tell (Chara) didn’t know I’d be coming up from behind him. I think he just thought he had time to go back and retrieve the puck,” D’Agostini said. “I heard their bench screaming. I tried a little sneak attack on him in there, so it was good that I got by him.”
Matt Moulson forced overtime by scoring with 53 seconds left in regulation. Brian Flynn had a goal and assist, while Tyler Myers and Zemgus Girgensons also scored for Buffalo.
It was a big win for Sabres backup goalie Jhonas Enroth, who stopped 29 shots and snapped an 0-10-4 skid to improve to 2-12-5 this season.
“That felt very nice to get a win finally again,” said Enroth, who also won for the first time in 12 home starts, dating to a 3-1 victory over Tampa Bay on April 14 of last season. “I’ve had these kind of games go against me, so it was nice to have one of these for me.”
Chara, Milan Lucic, Brad Marchand and Chris Kelly scored for the Bruins (37-16-5) in their first game after the NHL’s two-week Olympic break.
The Sabres (17-34-8) at least had the benefit of having opened the break with a 3-2 win over Carolina on Tuesday night.
The Bruins had been off since a 7-2 win against Ottawa on Feb. 8, and featured five players — including Chara — still dealing with the effects of jetlag after competing at the Sochi Games.
“I thought offensively, I didn’t mind our game,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “You score four goals, you should win those kind of games. But certainly, we were definitely rusty defensively.”
Red Wings 2, Canadiens 1 (OT)
In Montreal, Gustav Nyquist scored on a rebound with 28 seconds left in overtime to give the Red Wings a win over the Canadiens in the first post-Olympic game for both teams.
Montreal had goalie Peter Budaj pulled for an extra attacker when captain Brian Gionta scored with 29 seconds left in regulation to force overtime.
Canucks 1, Blues 0
In Vancouver, Jannik Hansen scored the game’s only goal and Eddie Lack made 20 saves for his third shutout of the season.
Kings 6, Avalanche 4
In Denver, Anze Kopitar had two goals, including the decisive score in the third period, and the Kings rallied to beat the Avalanche.
Crosby proud of gold
Pittsburgh — Sidney Crosby’s second Olympic experience was less dramatic and just as rewarding.
Crosby returned from Sochi, Russia, with his second Olympic gold medal, this one as the captain of the Canadian team. Leading a national team certainly brings a different sense of responsibility, but the same expectation.
“I think everybody feels a sense of pride, but also a sense of relief knowing you were able to do what everybody expected,” Crosby said Wednesday. “It’s not easy to win, but to be able to go in there with the goal of winning and achieve it is a great feeling.”
Now, Crosby and fellow Canadian gold medalist Chris Kunitz are ready for a return to normalcy in the NHL, joining head coach Dan Bylsma and five Olympic teammates, including Russia’s Evgeni Malkin, as the first-place Penguins prepare for a stretch run that features 24 games in 46 days.
“It’s good to get into a routine again,” Crosby said. “Managing rest is something we definitely have to keep in mind.”