ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP)Rasmus Asplund scored his second goal with 43.9 seconds left in overtime, and the Buffalo Sabres blew a three-goal lead before rallying for a 4-3 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday night.
Zemgus Girgensons and Arttu Ruotsalainen also scored for the Sabres, who opened a four-game West Coast trip by earning at least a point for the sixth time in their seven games. Craig Anderson stopped 34 shots in a standout performance in goal.
Asplund scored his first game-winning goal by knocking home a rebound after Victor Olofsson aggressively drove the net and occupied two Ducks.
”It was all Olie there,” Asplund said. ”I was just on the back side of the net and then tapped it in, so it’s his goal, and I was just happy to be able to finish it off for him there.”
The overtime victory was Buffalo’s first since February 2020 and its first on the road since December 2019.
”When you don’t play and you don’t execute well, but you find a way to get two points, you can’t diminish that, and I won’t,” Buffalo coach Don Granato said. ”It wasn’t pretty, but they stuck together as a team. They battled hard for each other. They supported each other, and they found a way.”
Anthony Stolarz made 25 saves and Simon Benoit tied it with his first career NHL goal early in the third period for the Ducks, who lost their fifth straight. Troy Terry extended his points streak to six games with a goal for Anaheim, and Adam Henrique scored his 200th career goal.
Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf had an assist for his 987th career point, moving him one behind Teemu Selanne for the Anaheim franchise scoring record.
Anaheim recorded 17 shots in the first period and missed on numerous scoring chances, but Anderson was excellent. Girgensons put the Sabres ahead from distance late in the frame with a precise shot off a long rebound of Kyle Okposo’s shot.
”We got lucky they didn’t get two, three goals with all that chaos (in the first period),” Anderson said. ”It’s a tough job, but somebody has got to do it.”
Asplund scored on a power play early in the second, and Ruotsalainen got his first goal of the season off a deflection to put Buffalo up 3-0. Terry wired home his third goal of an impressive start to the season on a pass from Getzlaf just under two minutes later, and Henrique scored in front after a prolonged scramble around Anderson late in the second.
”Early on, I wasn’t sure which roller coaster we were on,” Anaheim coach Dallas Eakins said. ”But as it went on, we got better and better.”
Benoit then tied it with six minutes left to play in his eighth career NHL game. He is a 23-year-old former undrafted free agent who progressed from a contract with the Ducks’ AHL affiliate in San Diego in 2018 to make his NHL debut late last season.
”That kid’s resilience, the amount of work he’s put in to get here, is a testament to him and his discipline,” Eakins said. ”It’s quite amazing.”
Sabres: C Cody Eakin made the trip, but missed his fourth straight game with an upper-body injury after running into the net during a practice drill last week. He should return soon.
Ducks: F Rickard Rakell left Anaheim’s bench during the third period and didn’t return. Eakins had no postgame update on his condition, but said: ”It’s always a little worrying when they don’t come back in the game.” … Before the game, Anaheim assigned rookie C Mason McTavish to San Diego for a 14-day conditioning loan. The 18-year-old McTavish scored two points in his first three NHL games while becoming the youngest player in Ducks history to score a goal, but left a game in Calgary last week with a lower-body injury.
Sabres: At Kings on Sunday.
Ducks: At Golden Knights on Friday.
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