Voracek Nets Game-Winner In Blue Jackets Overtime Victory Over Sabres

By Ed Francis on February 10, 2022 at 9:40 pm
Jakub Voracek scored his second goal of the season just 16 seconds into overtime to give the Columbus Blue Jackets a 4-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres.
Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

For the second consecutive game, the Columbus Blue Jackets were down two goals.

And for the second consecutive game, the Blue Jackets went up two points in the standings.

Brendan Gaunce and Oliver Bjorkstrand scored third-period goals to erase a 3-1 deficit and Jakub Voracek scored just his second goal of the season in the opening seconds of overtime as the Blue Jackets defeated the Buffalo Sabres 4-3 Thursday night in western New York.

  1 2 3 OT F
BLUE JACKETS 1 0 2 1 4
SABRES 0 2 1 0 3

Jack Roslovic got the scoring started for the Blue Jackets in the opening period with his 8th goal of the season — an accidental tally thrown in from the corner board that went off a Sabre skate and behind Buffalo goalie Dustin Tokarski. Trey Fix-Wolansky picked up an assist on the goal, the first assist of his NHL career in his second NHL game.

Columbus kept that 1-0 lead through the end of the first period, the first time in seven games they didn't allow a goal in the opening frame. Buffalo would tie the game early in the second period on a goal from Rasmus Dahlin, the first of three unanswered goals from the Sabres. Kyle Okposo made it 2-1 Buffalo with less than two minutes left in the second, and it took Alex Tuch just 12 seconds to make it 3-1 early in the third.

Gaunce's goal at the 4:48 mark of the third cut the Buffalo lead to 3-2. It was Gaunce's first goal as a Blue Jacket, and his first NHL goal since October 31st, 2018 — a span of 1,198 days. 

The Blue Jackets and goaltender Elvis Merzlikins would dodge quality scoring chances from the Sabres throughout the third, keeping it a one-goal game long enough for the suddenly red-hot Columbus power play to get one more chance. Oliver Bjorkstrand made that chance worth it, thanks in part to a gorgeous pass from Patrik Laine. The goal was Bjorkstrand's 13th of the season, and Columbus' third power play goal in two games.

Overtime would not last long — Buffalo would not touch the puck, as Voracek would take the puck coast-to-coast and beat Tokarski stick-side for the game-winner.

Columbus outshot Buffalo 34-27 for the game, with Merzlikins making 24 saves in his second straight win. The Blue Jackets are back at the .500 mark on the season, with a record of 22-22-1. 

Next Up

The Blue Jackets will stay in Canada, heading west to Alberta to face the Calgary Flames. The Flames defeated the Blue Jackets 6-0 last month, with Columbus allowing a franchise record 62 shots on goal in the defeat. Puck drop from Calgary is set for 9:00 p.m. Tuesday.