BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - Nashville rookie Blake Geoffrion scored three goals, including two 1:02 apart in the final three minutes of regulation, and Martin Erat completed the comeback 27 seconds into overtime as the Predators stormed to a 4-3 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday.
Ryan Suter set up the winning goal, sending a pass from the left circle to Erat, who scored into the open right side of the net. That gave the Predators just their third road win in 11 games (3-6-2).
The Predators are 7-2-2 in their past 11 games and have moved into a fifth-place tie with Los Angeles in the tight Western Conference. Only three points separated fifth and 10th places at the start of play Sunday.
Tim Connolly, Nathan Gerbe and Tyler Ennis scored second-period goals for the Sabres, who are trying to maintain their hold on an Eastern Conference playoff position. Eighth-place Buffalo is three points ahead of ninth-place Carolina.
The Sabres dropped to 19-3-2 in games in which they led after two periods.
Buffalo seemed to be in control after a three-goal second period that included scores by Gerbe and Connolly 42 seconds apart. Nashville was outshot 17-10 in the period and managed just one shot on goal in the final 10:35.
|Blake Geoffrion's hat trick will be the headline of the today's game -- and deservedly so -- but quietly the Preds defensemen keyed Nashville's come-from-behind win at Buffalo.
With the Preds down 1-3 late in regulation, Jonathon Blum joined the rush up ice to give the Preds numbers entering the offensive zone. He followed the play down low and helped win a key one-on-one battle in the corner to the left of the Buffalo net, freeing the puck out to Geoffrion. Geoffrion made a strong move to the nearside post and poked the puck under Ryan Miller to bring Nashville within one goal.
A minute later, Geoffrion won an offensive zone faceoff and Sergei Kostitsyn shuttled the puck back to Cody Franson at the point. Franson snapped a low shot on net, allowing Geoffrion -- who was cutting through the high slot -- to deflect the puck past Miller and tie the game 3-3.
First shift in overtime, Ryan Suter made a strong hold on a Buffalo clearing attempt, played the puck down low to David Legwand and jumped deeper in the zone. Legwand swooped behind the net and fed a pass to Suter out front. Suter pin-pointed a pass cross ice to Martin Erat at the bottom of the faceoff circle, who one-timed the feed home for the game-winner.
Nashville's defensemen had scored goals in four consecutive games. That streak didn't continue tonight, but the Preds d-men were just as valuable to the team's offensive production.
--Jay Levin, NashvillePredators.com
Geoffrion cut the Sabres' lead to 3-2 with 2:27 left in regulation when he capitalized on Andrej Sekera's turnover at the side of the Buffalo net and jammed the puck inside the right post.
Geoffrion tied it 62 seconds later, just as the Predators pulled goalie Anders Lindback for an extra attacker. Geoffrion won a faceoff to the right of the Sabres net, and Nashville worked the puck back to Cody Franson, who fired a shot from the right point that was deflected by Geoffrion and handcuffed goalie Ryan Miller.
Miller was sharp in keeping the game tied. He got his blocker out to foil Sergei Kostitsyn's shot from the slot with 23 seconds left.
Lindback stopped 35 shots for the win in his first appearance since Feb. 7. Lindback got the start in place of Pekka Rinne, who got a rest after starting the previous 20 games, including a 3-1 home win over Detroit on Saturday night.
Though shaky at times, Lindback kept the Predators in the game. His best save came with 7:25 left in regulation when he kicked his pad out to stop Thomas Vanek.
Trailing 1-0, the Sabres scored three times in the seconid period. Gerbe and Connolly put Buffalo ahead 2-1 by the 7:46 mark. Ennis then scored what appeared to be an insurance goal with a minute left, when he snapped a shot from the slot that glanced in off Lindback's blocker.
It was Buffalo's second consecutive three-goal second period following an 8-2 win over Atlanta on Saturday.
Notes: Sabres D Steve Montador didn't play because of an undisclosed lower body injury. ... Coming off a five-game homestand, in which they went 4-1, the Predators will open a four-game homestand Tuesday against Edmonton. Nashville will play seven of its final nine games at home. ... The Sabres' last 10 games are split between home and away. ... New Sabres owner Terry Pegula's youngest daughter, Kelly, and son, Matthew, took the ice two hours before the game to practice shots and stick-handling.