Rasmus Dahlin scored 48 seconds into overtime and the visiting Buffalo Sabres handed the slumping Vancouver Canucks a 3-2 loss on Sunday.
Casey Mittelstadt had a goal and an assist and Jeff Skinner scored in regulation for the Sabres (22-33-8), who have won four of their last five outings.
The Canucks (30-26-8) got a goal and an assist from J.T. Miller and Bo Horvat scored on a second-period power play.
Thatcher Demko stopped 26-of-29 shots for Vancouver and Buffalo netminder Craig Anderson made 30 saves for his 20th win of the season.
The loss concluded a disappointing seven-game homestand that saw the Canucks go 2-3-2, including a 5-2 loss to the Calgary Flames on Saturday.
Vancouver has now lost three games in a row for the first time since Jan. 25.
Buffalo started overtime with patience, waiting in their own end and drawing jeers from the crowd before working their way up the ice, where Dahlin ripped a shot from the slot to beat Demko with the game winner.
Miller nearly ended the game with 74 seconds to go in regulation, powering his way to the net in traffic. Anderson stopped the shot but couldn’t contain the rebound and the loose puck momentarily hung in the crease surrounded by ample traffic.
The Canucks got a prime opportunity to break the 2-2 deadlock when Mattias Samuelsson was called for tripping after hauling Horvat down in the Sabres zone with less than five minutes on the game clock.
Defenceman Quinn Hughes gave Anderson some trouble with some long shots from inside the blue line but the veteran goalie weathered the man advantage and kept the score even.
Vancouver twice tied the game in the second but Demko made a brilliant save in the dying seconds of the period, sliding across the crease feet first and stacking his pads to deny Zemgus Girgensons from in tight to keep the score even heading into the final frame.
Captain in his spot, ties things up here! pic.twitter.com/m5NtQWWUtL
— Vancouver #Canucks (@Canucks) March 21, 2022
Horvat knotted the score at 2-2 with a power-play goal midway through the second after Skinner was called for hooking.
Miller waited patiently to set up the play, stickhandling around the perimeter before dishing the puck off to the Canucks captain, who sent a one timer sailing past Anderson for his 23rd goal of the season.
The Canucks were 1 for 3 with the man advantage Sunday. The Sabres’ power play went 0 for 2.
Buffalo’s second goal of the night came during a stretch of four-on-four hockey after Vancouver’s Conor Garland and Buffalo’s Dylan Cozens were called for roughing.
A Canucks clearing attempt went awry, with Juho Lammikko digging the puck out from behind the net and sending it to Tyler Myers as he fell in front of the Vancouver net. The Canucks defenceman couldn’t bounce back up in time to stop Skinner from getting to the loose puck and the Sabres sniper popped a shot in past Demko at the 3:55 mark.
Vancouver challenged for an offside zone entry on the play but after an extended review, the officials determined it was a good goal and the Canucks were handed a bench minor penalty for delay of game.
Miller put the Canucks on the board 2:31 into the second, picking up a pass from Garland and muscling his way in alone before snapping a shot past Anderson. The shot hit the back bar of the Buffalo net and ricocheted out so quickly that play continued for several moments before the goal was called.
The Sabres got an early jump on the home side Sunday, scoring just 1:50 into the game after the Canucks turned the puck over at their own blue line.
Mittelstadt got a jump on his defender before blasting a shot past Demko from the high slot.
Slow starts have plagued Vancouver across their seven-game homestand and the Canucks are 10-20-6 when allowing the first goal this season.
The Canucks will begin a four-game road swing Wednesday when they take on the Colorado Avalanche. The Sabres host the Pittsburgh Penguins the same night.
NOTES: Will Butcher returned to the Sabres lineup after missing 19 games with a lower-body injury. … The Canucks made a pair of trades Sunday, acquiring defenceman Travis Dermott from the Toronto Maple Leafs for a third-round pick in the 2022 NHL entry draft. Vancouver also dealt veteran blue liner Travis Hamonic to the Ottawa Senators for a third-round pick. … Sabres head coach Don Granato is the older brother of Canucks assistant general manager Cammi Granato.
THE CANADIAN PRESS
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