Erat's OT goal caps Predators 4-3 win over Sabres
Sunday, March 20, 2011; 8:10 PM
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- 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.
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.