Buffalo Sabres Victor Antipin (93) and Nicholas Baptiste (13) celebrate a goal during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Chicago Blackhawks, Saturday, March 17, 2018, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)

Baptiste lifts Sabres to 5-3 win over Blackhawks

March 17, 2018 - 3:58 pm

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Nicholas Baptiste scored two goals in the third period to lead the Buffalo Sabres to a 5-3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday.

Baptiste scored the game-winner with 1:56 remaining on a deflection. Following a faceoff win in the Chicago end, Marco Scandella's shot from the point was deflected by Baptiste in the slot for the forward's second goal of the game.

Baptiste also tied the game at 3-3 on a long shot through traffic 2:17 into the third.

Ryan O'Reilly, Benoit Pouliot and Sam Reinhart also scored for the Sabres, and Chad Johnson made 34 saves.

Jonathan Toews, Jordan Oesterle and Tomas Jurco scored for the Blackhawks, and Jean-Francois Berube made 27 saves.

The Sabres got a lift from the returning Jack Eichel, who was back in the lineup after missing 15 games because of an ankle injury. Eichel had one assist and five shots in 18:14.

Pouliot opened the scoring with 1:50 remaining in the first period. After Rasmus Ristolainen's pass was deflected into the crease, Pouliot had an easy tap-in for his 13th goal of the season.

Oesterle evened the score 8:15 into the second following a pretty passing sequence in the Sabres zone. After Toews led Patrick Kane with a drop pass, Kane swung to his right before firing a pass to a wide-open Oesterle in front of the Buffalo net. Oesterle had an easy finish for his fifth goal of the season.

O'Reilly made it 2-1 on the power play with 8:53 left in the second, poking in a rebound that fell behind Berube after Eichel's shot hit the goalie's shoulder and went high into the air.

Chicago evened the score again with 5:45 left in the second when a rebound from Toews' shot hit Ristolainen and went into the net. Jurco was given credit for the goal.

Toews made it 3-2 on a terrific one-man effort 20 seconds into the third period. After his initial shot on a 2-on-1 was stopped, the Blackhawks captain sped to the crease and stole the rebound off Johnson's stick. The puck flipped into the air, and Toews batted it in for his 20th goal of the season.

Reinhart added an empty-net goal with 38.4 seconds left.

NOTES: Buffalo native Emily Pfalzer was honored in a ceremonial opening faceoff before the game. Pfalzer was a member of the United States women's hockey team at the 2018 Olympics, winning the gold medal in a shootout victory against Canada. Pfalzer was also captain of the Buffalo Beauts in the National Women's Hockey League in 2015-16 and 2016-17. ... Sabres center Zemgus Girgensons was injured midway through the first period and did not return. ... Sabres starting goalie Robin Lehner was a healthy scratch.


Blackhawks: Home against St. Louis on Sunday.

Sabres: Host the Nashville Predators on Monday.


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