With the game tied 3-3 in overtime, Nick Foligno stole the puck from Buffalo’s Jack Eichel at the back boards and passed out to Alexandre Texier skating free through the right circle. The rookie 20-year-old sealed the first win of the season for the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Texier’s snap-shot past Linus Ullmark 2 minutes, 8 seconds into overtime on Monday lifted Columbus to a 4-3 win over Buffalo. It also gave the Blue Jackets a much-needed shot of confidence after losing their first two games by a combined score of 10-3.
“[Foligno] came out with the puck — he did a great job,” Texier said. “I was alone in the middle.”
After going up 2-0 in the first period, Columbus let the Sabres back in. With the Blue Jackets leading 3-2 late, Buffalo pulled their goalie on a power play to create a six-on-four advantage and got a goal from Victor Olofsson to tie the score.
That set the stage for Texier’s heroics.
“Well deserved,” Columbus coach John Tortorella said. “He was probably our best forward, our most consistent forward tonight.”
“To win it this way, I think it gives you some juice,” he said.
Foligno, Oliver Bjorkstrand and Cam Atkinson also scored for the Blue Jackets, who outshot Buffalo 44-18.
Joonas Korpisalo had 15 saves.
Marcus Johansson and Jeff Skinner added goals for Buffalo, while Ullmark, making his first start of the season, had 40 saves.
“We’ve just got recharge, be a little bit sour about the loss today,” Ullmark said. “It’s going to be a new day tomorrow. There’s nothing else to it.”
It was the first loss of the season for Buffalo.
“After a couple of games where everything went our way, we struggled to find our game, especially in the first period,” Buffalo coach Ralph Krueger said. “Linus [Ullmark] gave us a chance. We still showed character tonight to come back from two down, thanks to Linus buying us some time.”
“The second period showed fight, and the willingness to try to fix a night that’s difficult and get used to playing some close games, because we’re going to have a lot this year,” Krueger added.
In Toronto, Alex Pietrangelo scored the tie-breaking goal in the third period, leading defending champions the Blues to a 3-2 victory over the Maple Leafs.
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