Blackhawks rally for 5-4 shootout win over Sabres
By JAY COHEN AP Sports Writer
CHICAGO (AP) — Patrick Kane passed Steve Larmer and picked up another win against his hometown team.
Not a bad night at all.
Kane collected two assists and scored during Chicago’s perfect shootout, leading the Blackhawks to a 5-4 victory over the slumping Buffalo Sabres on Thursday.
“A big two points for the team, keeps us in it,” Kane said. “We knew this was kind of a must-win tonight.”
Chicago (28-30-9) had dropped four of five, including two of three on its West Coast trip. It is clinging to the very fringe of the race for the Western Conference’s final wild card.
While the Blackhawks have struggled for much of the year, Kane has been a force. With his 27th multipoint game of the season, the dynamic winger passed Larmer for fourth on the franchise’s career points list with 924.
“Larmer was a great player, probably should be in the Hall of Fame,” Kane said. “Obviously had a great career here with the Blackhawks. One of those guys who played the game the right way. To get by him is pretty special.”
Artem Anisimov scored twice for Chicago, and Corey Crawford made 35 saves. Duncan Keith and Brendan Perlini also scored.
Jonathan Toews converted Chicago’s first shootout opportunity with a backhand. After Jack Eichel scored for Buffalo and Kane beat Carter Hutton low on the glove side, Crawford stuffed Sam Reinhart before Alex DeBrincat closed out the win by flipping a backhand into the net.
“A little lazy on my part,” Hutton said. “I think you just get gassed in overtime there and I just leave my feet a little too early. Those guys are too good, too patient.”
Buffalo dropped to 0-6-3 in Chicago since its last road win against the Blackhawks on Jan. 10, 2007, five months before Kane was the No. 1 overall pick in the draft.
“We were in the driver’s seat for a while and we let them back in it,” Perlini said. “We should have won that game, to be honest. It was good to come out with the points and move on from here.”
Zach Bogosian had a beautiful short-handed goal in the second period for Buffalo (30-28-9), which lost for the fifth time in six games. Vladimir Sobotka, Brandon Montour and Kyle Okposo also scored.
The Sabres were ahead 3-2 in the third when Anisimov banged a shot off the crossbar, kept skating and slammed it home for the tying score 4:48 into the period.
After Okposo finished a 2-on-1 break, scoring off a great pass by Evan Rodrigues, Chicago tied it once again. Perlini jumped on a deflected puck and beat Hutton low on the stick side for his eighth of the season at 7:57 — just 37 seconds after Okposo’s 11th goal.
“This is where we’re at right now. We’re going to have to scrape and claw for every point we get,” Buffalo coach Phil Housley said. “You get that one-goal lead, now it’s time to buckle down. We were trying to do the right thing. They got a little puck luck.”
Looking to shake off their disappointing road trip, the Blackhawks found a way to open a 2-0 lead despite a so-so start. Keith converted a backhander from the slot and Anisimov beat Hutton on a breakaway after he got a slick touch pass from Dominik Kahun.
The Sabres responded with three goals in a 3½-minute stretch in the second period. Sobotka kicked off the scoring spree with his fifth of the season, poking it in from the left side at 3:16. Montour then tied it at 2 when he sent a wrist shot from the high slot past Crawford on the stick side at 4:39.
Montour was sent off for tripping at 5:19, setting up Bogosian’s gorgeous tiebreaking goal . Bogosian skated by Crawford on the right side and looked as if he was going behind the net before deftly tapping it in on the short side for his third of the season.
NOTES: Bogosian returned after missing Monday’s 4-3 loss to Edmonton with a lower-body injury. … Blackhawks F David Kampf returned to the lineup after missing 12 games with a right foot injury.
Sabres: Visit the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday.
Blackhawks: Visit the Dallas Stars on Saturday night.
Jay Cohen can be reached at https://twitter.com/jcohenap
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