By MARK LUDWICZAK Associated Press
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Sam Reinhart came up just short of ending the Buffalo Sabres’ seven-game winless streak in overtime.
He made up for it in the shootout.
Reinhart scored the deciding goal to lead the Sabres to a 4-3 win over the St. Louis Blues on Sunday. It came moments after his backhand chance struck the post with less than a second remaining in overtime.
It resulted in Buffalo’s first win since March 1, and Buffalo’s third win in its past 16 games.
“I just liked the way we played after a back-to-back,” Sabres coach Phil Housley said. “We didn’t get the result (last night) and we haven’t gotten the result in the last two weeks. I’m just happy for our guys. They just continue to battle and fight and they found a way to win.”
Johan Larsson, Evan Rodrigues and Conor Sheary scored in regulation for the Sabres. Carter Hutton made 30 saves.
After Jack Eichel and Tyler Bozak traded goals to open the shootout, Reinhart scored on Buffalo’s final attempt. Reinhart’s wrist shot had just enough to get past St. Louis goalie Jake Allen, who got a piece of the shot with his glove.
Former Sabres center Ryan O’Reilly then had a chance to extend the shootout, but his backhand chance hit the crossbar.
Pat Maroon, David Perron and Brayden Schenn scored for the Blues, who remain in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race with 82 points (37-27-8). Allen made 31 saves.
“I think it was one of those games,” Blues coach Craig Berube said. “It wasn’t very clean all game. It was a tough grind out there. We didn’t execute very well. … We definitely have got to do a better job against teams that are below us in the standings, that’s for sure. That’s not been good enough.”
It marked the end of an ultimately disappointing road trip for St. Louis. On Saturday, the Blues dominated the surging Pittsburgh Penguins with a 5-1 win — but that was surrounded by defeats to struggling teams like Ottawa and Buffalo.
“I would say a bad trip, for sure,” O’Reilly said. “You look at who we’re playing, these are games that being a mature team there’s opportunities for us to gain ground and catch the teams ahead of us.”
The game was mostly even and back and forth from beginning to end.
Schenn evened the score at 3 with 11:19 remaining on a questionable goal that was challenged by the Sabres. With Hutton sprawled along the ice — and O’Reilly falling on top of him — Schenn went around the other side for a wrap-around.
Larsson opened the scoring 6:42 into the game. Collecting a cross-ice pass from defenseman Zach Bogosian, Larsson’s wrist shot found the near corner for sixth goal of the season.
Maroon evened the score just over two minutes later, curling around the net and leaving the Sabres defense confused for his seventh goal of the year.
Rodrigues restored Buffalo’s lead with 5:12 remaining in the first on a 2-on-1, patiently cutting inside and tucking a low shot inside the far post.
Sheary made it 3-1 7:46 into the second on a similar 2-on-1 rush. Rookie defenseman Rasmus Dahlin set up the odd-man rush with a terrific breakout pass, and Sheary did the rest with a shot high to the far corner.
Perron got the Blues back in it two minutes later. The veteran forward threaded a long shot through traffic for his 18th goal of the season at 12:15.
NOTES: Blues LW Alexander Steen played in his 700th game for St. Louis. The former first-round pick began his career in Toronto before being traded to St. Louis in 2008. … Veteran Jason Pominville was a healthy scratch for Buffalo, in a surprise move. D Jake McCabe, LW Scott Wilson and D Matt Hunwick were also scratched for Buffalo. … Vladimir Tarasenko (upper body), D Joel Edmundson, LW Sammy Blais and C Robby Fabbri were scratched for St. Louis.
Blues: Home against Edmonton on Tuesday.
Sabres: Home against Toronto on Wednesday.
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By MARK LUDWICZAK Associated Press