Winnipeg got the call they needed at the perfect time last night and took full advantage, scoring with just over a minute remaining in the game to earn a 4-3 win. Just prior to firing home the winning goal, it appeared that the Sabres had taken a lead of their own, but the goal was dissalowed and Winnipeg made it count.
Winnipeg went into Buffalo, a city that had not been kind over the years, with a 1 win and 19 loss record since the Jets joined the NHL, and on two game skid. The teams played a tight checking, penalty filled affair, a toal of 18 power plays were given out resulting in 4 of the 7 goals. The Sabres struck first 2:05 into the game as Gary Galley fired a point shot through a maze of legs to give the Sabres their first on the power play. Three minutes later on an Igor Korolev hooking call Buffalo once again notched a power play marker, it was Galley firing a point shot again, this one tipped by Brad May and past Khabibulin for a 2-0 Sabres lead. Winnipeg would get on the board before the end of the period as Alexei Zhamnov beat Dominic Hasek for his fifth of the year, giving him a 3 game goal streak, and sending Winnipeg to the room within one.
The second period saw Winnipeg flip the game with two goals. Both goals came late in the period as the teams traded unsuccesful power plays for the first 15 minutes before Keith Tkachuk tied the game on a beautiful feed from Teemu Selanne with under 4 minutes remaining. Then after a Pat Lafontaine hooking call Winnipeg tied the game when Teppo Numminen finished off a nice passing play as Zhamnov went cross ive to find Teemu Selanne who slid it to the point where Numminen one timed the tying goal. It was Winnipegs only power play goal on ten attempts on this night. It didn’t take long for Buffalo to tie the game in the third as before the period was 5 minutes old Donald Audette got Buffalo’s third goal with the extra man.
The rest of the third went by mostly uneventful but this was just prologue to the exciting finish we saw. With under two minutes left a huge scramble in front of the Winnipeg net, Pat Lafontaine appeared to slide the puck in and put Buffalo ahead. However after further review and much discussion the goal was dissalowed, saying that the puck was directed in by Lafontaines skate. The call left the Sabres irate and the following minute and a half would not do much to improve their moods. With under a minute remaining and an offensive zone face off for Winnipeg Darren Turcotte stepped into the face off circle. Turcotte attempted to send the puck back to his defensemen off the draw but didn’t get all of it, so he turned and fired the puck, no look, top shelf over the glove of Dominic Hasek and giving the Jets the 4-3 win.
Winnipeg will look to build off the thrilling victory November 10th in St. Louis.