The Buffalo Sabres definitely were not favored to come away victorious against the visiting Phoenix Coyotes on Monday.
But, with their roster reduced to 16 players because of the flu and then 15 because of a second-period ejection to Drew Stafford for an elbow to the head of Oliver Ekman-Larsson, the Sabres managed a 2-1 overtime victory courtesy one of the strangest goals of the regular season to date.
Mark Pysyk got credited for the winning goal – his first of the season – in overtime, after being the last Sabres’ player to touch the puck, which was deflected high into the air and landed in the hockey pants of Phoenix goalie Mike Smith.
Smith backed into the net and there was a delayed reaction to the Sabres’ celebration. The play was reviewed and called a good goal, giving Buffalo a win against the odds.
“At 3:47 of overtime in the Coyotes/Sabres game, video review supported the referee’s call on the ice that Mark Pysyk’s shot deflected into the air and landed in goaltender Mike Smith’s equipment and, while attempting to make the save, Smith’s momentum propelled him and the puck completely across the goal line. Good goal Buffalo,” the league wrote on its Situation Room Blog.
The Coyotes saw things a little differently.
“I guess if they don’t see the puck, they’re supposed to blow the whistle. That’s not what happened,” said Smith, as per Joe Yerdon of ProHockeyTalk and NHL.com.
According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, Raffi Torres has been suspended pending his disciplinary hearing with the league for his hit on Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.
Torres was assessed a match penalty for targeting Silfverberg’s head on Saturday night.
The 33-year-old missed all of last season with a knee injury, and it looks like the start of his regular season will be delayed once again.
Head coach Bruce Boudreau said that Silfverberg could have come back into the game, but he was held out for precautionary reasons.
Ducks center Ryan Kesler didn’t hide his feelings after the contest.
“(Torres) is the same player every year,” Kesler told reporters. “He needs to learn how to hit. That has no part in our game anymore.”
The Edmonton Oilers placed Ben Scrivens on waivers on Sunday.
Should he go unclaimed, the 29-year-old will be sent to the American Hockey League.
It looks like Edmonton will enter the regular season with Cam Talbot and Anders Nilsson as their goaltenders.
Scrivens was the team’s number one goalie last year, but his overall numbers were among the worst for starting goaltenders in the NHL.
He had a 15-26-11 record with a 3.16 goals-against-average and a .890 save percentage in 57 games last season.
Scrivens is scheduled to make $2.3 million in the final year of his contract.
If he does end up in the AHL, the Oilers will carry $1.35 million of dead money on the salary cap.
The move comes one day after Edmonton placed Nikita Nikitin on waivers.
The 29-year-old officially cleared on Sunday afternoon.