5 - 4 Final - 2OT
  for this game

Mueller, Avs rally past Sabres in SO

Mar 15, 2012 - 6:11 AM
Buffalo, NY (Sports Network) - Peter Mueller scored the game-winning goal in the second round of the shootout as the Colorado Avalanche topped the Buffalo Sabres, 5-4, on Wednesday at First Niagara Center.

Mueller went in with speed and ripped a quick wrist shot just under the glove of Sabres netminder Ryan Miller. Tyler Ennis had a chance to keep the shootout going for the Sabres, but he lost the puck as he went to make a move, sealing the comeback win for the Avs.

Mueller added an assist and Jamie McGinn scored twice, while David Jones and Gabriel Landeskog also lit the lamp for the Avalanche, who sit in eighth place in the Western Conference, one point behind Phoenix, which topped the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday. Paul Stastny contributed two helpers and Semyon Varlamov made 20 saves in the victory.

"We knew how important this game was just to stay in the hunt," McGinn said. "We got the job done."

Marcus Foligno scored twice, Drew Stafford added a goal and two assists, Alexander Sulzer scored and Ennis had three helpers for the Sabres, who are three points back of idle Washington for eighth place in the East.

Miller was tagged for four goals on 42 shots in the loss.

Buffalo opened the scoring just 1:39 into the game thanks to great concentration by Foligno.

Stafford brought the puck into the offensive zone on the right wing and handed it off to Ennis, who threw the puck in front for Foligno. Charging hard to the net, Foligno lost his balance and went tumbling to the ice, but got his stick on the puck as he fell and nudged it past Varlamov.

The Avs tied the game with 11:05 to play in the first period after McGinn picked up the puck in the neutral zone and sped up the left wing. He gained the line and let a wicked wrist shot go from the left circle that beat Miller high to the short side.

The Sabres took a 2-1 lead while shorthanded at 14:42 of the first period after a mistake on the breakout by Colorado.

Holding the puck in the defensive zone, Erik Johnson skated to center ice and laid a pass off for Mueller. Mueller tried to make a move but lost the puck and Stafford swooped in to get it along the right wing wall. Stafford pushed his way through two checkers and went in on net before being tripped, but he still managed to slide the puck through the legs of Varlamov.

Colorado tied it at two with just 52 seconds left in the period after Shane O'Brien fired a slap shot on net from the point that was stopped by Miller, but Jones poked it home after a few whacks amid a scramble in the crease

The Avs then made it 3-2 with a power-play tally at 5:35 of the second period after Mueller ripped a wrist shot that was stopped by Miller, but he failed to control the rebound and Landeskog swept it home.

But, Foligno answered for the Sabres at 11:01 of the second period after he got a perfect drop pass from Stafford and slapped it past a screened Varlamov from the slot.

The Sabres again broke the deadlock just 1:55 into the third period after Sulzer wristed a shot on net that hit off the stick of Avs defenseman Matt Hunwick and got past Varlamov.

With Varlamov pulled, the Avs tied the game at four with under two seconds to play. Landeskog started the play by firing a shot wide of the net that caromed off the back boards to the right corner. Ryan O'Reilly chased the puck down and threw it in front before McGinn tapped it home from in close to send it to overtime.

It was the second time in as many games that the Sabres coughed up a lead with just seconds to play in regulation.

"We played with fire, and got burned," Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff said of his team's last-second collapse. "Our two forwards got caught flat-footed in the neutral zone and allowed Landeskog to wind up and come full speed. We didn't follow him to the outside."

Game Notes

Colorado improved to 9-3-0 in its last 12, while Buffalo dropped to 9-2-2 in its last 13...The Sabres had their five-game home winning streak snapped...Buffalo had killed off 20 straight penalties entering Wednesday, and allowed just its first power-play goal since February 24 against the Boston Bruins... The Avs improved to 12-4-0 against Eastern Conference teams this season...McGinn has scored seven goals in his last six games...Colorado finished 1-for-4 with the man advantage, while the Sabres went 0-for-2 on the power play.