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Date: March 18, 2019 01:58AM

COLUMBUS Custom Ottawa Senators Jerseys , Ohio (AP) — Columbus coach John Tortorella had trouble explaining how his team could blow a two-goal lead in the third period Saturday night only to come back and win 31 seconds into overtime. Finally, he resorted to quoting Forrest Gump.“It’s a box of chocolates — you just never know what you’re going to get from shift to shift at certain times,” Tortorella said. “I guess that’s just what the game is.” Panarin’s shot from the left circle glanced off the far post and into the net to give the Blue Jackets a 5-4 victory over the Buffalo Sabres, who had scored a pair of goals in a two-minute span of the third period to erase the deficit and force the extra period.That all came after Cam Atkinson scored two goals in 31 seconds of the second period to give Columbus what looked like a comfortable lead.“I just don’t understand it sometimes,” Tortorella said. “But we found a way to get two points.”Atkinson and Panarin each had two goals and an assist, and Pierre Luc-Dubois had a goal and a pair of assists, including the pass to Panarin low in the circle that set up the overtime goal.Joonas Korpisalo stopped 34 shots and is undefeated in four starts for the Blue Jackets, who won their second straight and ended a three-game winning streak for Buffalo.Jeff Skinner and Jason Pominville each had a goal and an assist, and backup goalie Linus Ullmark — who previously had given up just one goal in two starts this season — had 32 saves for Buffalo. Kyle Okposo got his third goal of the season for Buffalo 1:38 into the game on a 2-on-1 rush. Dubois evened it with a snipe from the middle of the right circle later in the first, with Panarin getting his fourth primary assist in the past two games. Skinner got a fortunate deflection right onto his stick at the bottom of the right circle and slipped the puck between Korpisalo and the near post to get his team-leading sixth goal and make it 2-1 Sabres at the end of the first.Dubois returned the favor to his linemate early in the second with a feed that led to Panarin’s finish from the left circle to tie it again.Atkinson’s pair in the second period gave Columbus a 4-2 lead www.officialflyersproshop.com , but Buffalo got goals in the third from Pominville and then Casey Middelstadt on a power play to even the score and set up Panarin’s overtime heroics.“He’s one of the best players in the league, and it kind of showed in this game,” Ullmark said. “It was a good shot.”Buffalo was trying to win four straight for the first time since 2014. It didn’t happen, but coach Phil Housley was pleased with the effort.“I have to give credit to our guys for finding a way to battle back,” he said. “We would have loved to have won that game in overtime, but getting a point after being two down in the third period says a lot about our group.”NOTES: Atkinson’s fifth and sixth tallies of the season in a 31-second span of the second period broke a franchise record for quickest back-to-back goals…. Sabres F Evan Rodrigues missed the game because he returned to Buffalo for personal reasons. … The Blue Jackets had a three-goal second period for the second straight game and the fifth time this season. … Columbus F Markus Hannikainen replaced Sonny Milano for the second straight game. … Pominville has four goals and four assists in the last four games.UP NEXTBuffalo: Hosts Calgary on Tuesday night.Columbus: Hosts Detroit on Tuesday night. WASHINGTON (AP) James Neal has become a source of leadership and inspiration for the Vegas Golden Knights during their improbable run to the Stanley Cup Final.So, it came as no surprise that the 11-year veteran made a point of seeking out teammate Alex Tuch, a 22-year-old rookie who missed a chance to score the potential tying goal late in Game 2 against the Washington Capitals”I talked with him a little bit today,” Neal said Friday. ”It’s all good. He’ll get a bigger one for us later in the series. He’s been great for us so far, so no reason to think about that anymore. At the end of the day Philadelphia Flyers T-Shirts Authentic , it’s a great save and you move forward.”Braden Holby snuffed the shot with his goalie stick in a 3-2 victory that evened the series heading in Game 3 on Saturday night.Vegas snagged a winner when they selected Neal from Nashville last June in the expansion draft. They got a skilled forward who scored 20 goals in 10 straight seasons (now 11) and a player who turned out to be perfect for a team that had to mesh immediately to be successful.”He’s a natural leader,” Golden Knights right wing Ryan Reaves said. ”He likes leading the boys into battle. When he has something to say he’s going to say it, and people are going to listen.”Neal reached the Stanley Cup Final last year with the Predators, who lost to Pittsburgh. Now here he is again, with another crack at winning it all.”It’s a special team and a special group of guys,” Neal said. ”I’ve been to the finals before, so just try to give them little tips. I try to lead by example, do the right things on the ice. We’ve got a group that responds well.”Neal seriously wants to win, but he isn’t always serious. And that’s the way his teammates like it.”I’m not going to pump his tires too much because I don’t want to hear about it, but he’s definitely one of those guys that keeps it loose Philadelphia Flyers Hoodies Authentic ,” Reaves said. ”You need guys like that around the team. You can’t be 100 percent business-like all the time. You’ve got to have fun.”Vegas goaltender Marc Andre-Fleury is the only other player on the club who’s played in the Stanley Cup Final, so he and Neal have been taking turns doling out advice.”In the locker room he’s a big voice,” Fleury said of Neal. ”He’s been to the finals, so it’s good to have someone else who can share that experience.”Although Neal is a rarity in that he’s been to consecutive Stanley Cup Finals with two different teams, his most emphatic message is: Don’t take this ride for granted.”You see how badly he wants to win,” left wing David Perron said. ”To go through that last year and not come out on top, he’s got a huge chip on his shoulder and really wants to get it this time. He’s talking to guys, telling them you never know if you’re going to get another opportunity, so you’ve got to find a way to bring your best.”Toward that end, the 30-year-old Neal has helped carry the team with his stick. He has five goals and five assists in 17 games during the playoffs Philadelphia Flyers Hats Authentic , including Vegas’ first goal in Game 2 on Wednesday.Asked whether Neal is more valuable as a player or a leader, Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant replied, ”On the ice is the major thing for me. When he scores goals like he did the last game, he makes our job a lot easier as coaches. James has been outstanding for us. He definitely helps our room with the young players, for sure.”Most notably, Tuch.”He’s been a mentor to me. He brought me aside today and told me what I could have done better on that shot but also that I have to move on,” Tuch said. ”Everyone knows how good a hockey player he is. I don’t know if people knew he was that much of a leader. Maybe it was a different vibe in Nashville. But this year he’s been a huge leader for us, one of our (six alternate) captains, and it’s been great.”—More Stanley Cup coverage: [apnews.com]

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