Sheary, Sabres slip past Blue Jackets

Conor Sheary scored the go-ahead goal early in the third period as the visiting Buffalo Sabres skated to a 5-4 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday.

Sheary joined Evan Rodrigues with a goal and an assist for Buffalo, which overcame squandering a two-goal lead late in the second period to snap a five-game losing skid in Columbus.

Jeff Skinner scored his team-leading 31st goal and Sam Reinhart and Tage Thompson also tallied as the Sabres avenged a 5-4 overtime loss to the Blue Jackets on Oct. 27. Buffalo has alternated losses and wins the past four games.

Pierre-Luc Dubois and Cam Atkinson each scored and set up a goal for Columbus, which has dropped three in a row following an 11-3-0 surge. Captain Nick Foligno converted on the power play, Brandon Dubinsky also tallied, and Artemi Panarin and defenseman Ryan Murray each had a pair of assists.

The Sabres regained their composure after the Blue Jackets’ late flurry in the second period and secured a 5-4 advantage after an unmarked Sheary cleaned up the rebound following Rodrigues’ blast from the left circle. Sheary’s tally at 2:12 of the third period was his eighth of the season and first since Dec. 22.

Dubinsky redirected a shot past Carter Hutton (33 saves) to trim Buffalo’s lead to 4-3 at 16:52 of the second period. Atkinson subsequently took advantage of a defensive breakdown and scored from the slot to forge a tie with 33 seconds left in the session. The goal was Atkinson’s team-high 28th of the season.

Foligno trimmed Buffalo’s lead to 3-2 after his backhand shot slipped past Hutton 21 seconds into the second period, but Skinner scored on a breakaway just 21 ticks later to restore the Sabres’ two-goal advantage.

After the teams traded early goals, an unmarked Reinhart wired a one-timer past Sergei Bobrovsky (29 saves) at 7:59 of the first period. Thompson doubled the advantage 100 seconds later with a shot that caromed off the crossbar and into the net.

Buffalo got out of the blocks early as Rodrigues scored for the fourth time in as many games after cleaning up a rebound on the doorstep at 2:14 of the first period. Columbus knotted it up 63 seconds later when Murray’s shot from above the right circle was deflected home by Dubois, who notched his 18th goal of the season.

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