Sabres topple Jets 4-2
Matt Moulson is sensing something different around the Buffalo Sabres after their first third-period comeback win of the season.
''We had a great first period, an awful second period,'' Moulson said.
''Maybe before we would've folded it in then but (interim coach Ted Nolan) had some good words in between periods for us and that helped jump start us a bit.''
Buffalo is 1-21 when trailing at the start of the third period after Moulson, Marcus Foligno and Matt Ellis scored to lift the Buffalo Sabres to a 4-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday night.
It was Buffalo's first regulation win since Nov. 15 against Toronto, when Nolan took over for the fired Ron Rolston.
''I love playing for him and a lot of guys go through the wall for him,'' Moulson said of Nolan. ''That's what you want from your coach, a leader like that. He's probably one of the best in that position.''
Mark Scheifele scored two goals in 36 seconds to build a 2-0 second-period lead for the Jets, who have lost four of their past five games.
''Let's be honest, our second period was horrendous,'' said Sabres captain Steve Ott, who also scored. ''We had turnovers after turnovers and they capitalized twice on it. It simply wasn't good enough.''
What Nolan say after two periods that made such an impression on Moulson and the Sabres?
''I just raised my voice a little bit longer than I usually do,'' Nolan said, ''But I just said we gotta compete. If we compete, we're good and we can't compete for 55 minutes, we have to compete for 60 minutes.''
The Jets were playing their third game in four nights and got through a scoreless first period that saw Buffalo outshoot them 19-7.
''I never really liked the game even from the onset,'' Jets coach Claude Noel said.
At the 1:02 mark of the second period, Scheifele moved between two stick-checking Sabres into the slot, scoring on a point-blank wrist shot over Ryan Miller's right shoulder.
Thirty-six seconds later, he carried the puck down the right side of the Sabres zone before taking a step toward the net and beating Miller over the same shoulder to give the Jets a two-goal lead.
Scheifele has five goals and five assists in his past 12 games after getting just five points in his first 24 games.
''I think we thought that the opponent would fold up and play and obviously that wasn't the case,'' Noel said.
Ott put the Sabres on the scoreboard at the 10:16 of the second. Drew Stafford took a shot that Ondrej Pavelec redirected to Ott. The Sabres' captain scored his fourth goal of the season and his first since Nov. 15.
Stafford and Ott paired up on their next shift, but Pavelec was able to cover up Ott's one-timer.
The Sabres broke through 50 seconds into the third period when Foligno went to the net and tapped in a pass from Cody Hodgson to tie the score at 2.
Less than two minutes later, with Eric O'Dell in the penalty box for hooking, Moulson deflected Christian Ehrhoff's shot past Pavelec to give the Sabres their first lead of the night.
The power-play goal relieved a unit that had scored on just two of its previous 30 opportunities.
''Our momentum took over like we played in the first period and that was the difference,'' Ott said.
Buffalo added a fourth goal when Kevin Porter, recalled earlier in the day from Rochester of the American Hockey League, stole the puck from Eric Tangradi in the slot. His high backhand shot was batted out of the air by Ellis and past Pavelec.
Buffalo hadn't scored more than three goals in its previous 16 games.
''You have to play the percentages, I'm a strong believer in that,'' Moulson said. ''Eventually, they gotta go in. We've been getting a lot of shots recently, a lot more than we were getting before. We eventually gotta find the back of the net at some point.''
The Sabres had a 3-on-1 break during a first-period power play, but Pavelec pushed Hodgson's shot wide of the net.
Buffalo outshot Winnipeg 31-27 for the game as 12 different Sabres recorded points.
Miller made 25 saves in the win.
NOTES: The Sabres recalled Porter and D Chad Ruhwedel from Rochester before the game, sending D Mark Pysyk, D Brayden McNabb and LW Luke Adam down to the Americans. ... C James Wright was scratched for Winnipeg, making way for C Eric O'Dell. ... The Sabres next play Thursday at home against Boston.