Cozens scores 2, Sabres snap skid with 3-2 win over Oilers

Nov 12, 2021, 4:47 AM | Updated: 9:00 pm
Buffalo Sabres defenseman Jacob Bryson (78) and Colin Miller (33) check Edmonton Oilers center Conn...

Buffalo Sabres defenseman Jacob Bryson (78) and Colin Miller (33) check Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (97) during the third period of a NHL hockey game, Friday, Nov. 12, 2021, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)

(AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Sabres coach Don Granato recalled how young center Dylan Cozens didn’t flinch upon being informed he and his line would be matched up against two-time NHL MVP Connor McDavid.

The 20-year-old followed up by showing no signs of fear in delivering upon his coach’s trust in a 3-2 win on Friday night. Cozens’ line not only kept McDavid off the scoresheet in even-strength situations, but he scored twice, including the go-ahead goal in the final minute of the second period.

“I liked what I saw and felt he was ready for the challenge, whichever way it went,” Granato said of the conversation the two had earlier this week. “The way he played tonight, he had an amazing game.”

Cozens, a key piece to the Sabres’ youth movement with ex-captain Jack Eichel dealt to Vegas last week, took yet another major step in his development.

The second-year player scored twice in a span of 5:14 in snapping the team’s 0-4-1 skid.

“It’s a big confidence boost, for sure, to go against one of the top players in the world. I was excited,” said Cozens, who was selected with the No. 7 pick in the 2019 draft.

“If I knew a couple of years ago that my first time going against McDavid that I’d be line matched against him, it would have been a little overwhelming,” he added. “But I try not to overthink and just go out and play.”

Anders Bjork also scored for Buffalo. Dustin Tokarski stopped 33 shots — including bang-bang chances by Leon Draisaitl with 4:45 remining — for his second win in seven starts, and after allowing 13 goals in his past three outings.

The Oilers (10-3) have lost two of three and failed to win 11 of their first 13 outings of a season for the first time in team history.

Draisaitl scored twice on the power play to improve his NHL-leading total to 14 goals.

McDavid had an assist to extend his season-opening points streak to 13 games, in which he now has nine goals and 16 assists for 25 points.

The 13-game run to open the season is just the fifth in the NHL since 2000, and longest since Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon had a 13-game streak to open the 2019-20 season. McDavid’s streak ranks fourth among the Oilers, with Wayne Gretzky having the three longest runs of 16 games (1984-85), 30 (1982-83) and 51 (1983-84).

The assist also was McDavid’s 599th career point in 420 games. Only five players have reached the 600-point mark in fewer games, with Eric Lindros ranking sixth at 429.

The Oilers ran out of steam in attempting to win while trailing after two periods for a second consecutive night after scoring the final three goals in a 5-3 win at Boston.

“Last night, obviously we battled back. It was an emotional game and we found a way to come from behind, but it’s not always that easy.” said Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who had two assists against Buffalo. “We definitely pushed in the third tonight but overall we need to be better in the early part of the game. It cost us tonight.”

Edmonton’s Stuart Skinner stopped 20 shots in making his second start of the season, and third of his career.

Cozens scored the go-ahead goal with 50 seconds left in the second period by converting a loose puck in the crease, and after Skinner stopped Vinnie Hinostroza’s backhander on a transition break.

Cozens tied it at 2 with 6:04 left in the second period, and set up for a partial breakaway by Drake Caggiula, who intercepted Duncan Keith’s pass at center.


The teams traded goals negated by video reviews in the opening 10 minutes.

Edmonton’s Darnell Nurse’s shot from a bad angle was initially ruled a goal 2:14 in. Replays, however, showed the puck went off Tokarski’s pad, off the crossbar and rolled off the goalie’s back without crossing the goal line.

Buffalo’s Arttu Ruotsalainen then had a goal disallowed by review when replays clearly showed his stick was above the crossbar when deflecting in Jacob Bryson’s shot from the left point.


Oilers RW Zack Kassian missed his second straight game with a lower body injury. … The Oilers converted two of six power-play opportunities after going 0 of 4 in their past two games. Edmonton has scored on the power-play in 11 of 13 games. … The Sabres improved to 1-3-1 when allowing a power-play goal.


Oilers: Continue five-game road trip at St. Louis on Sunday night.

Sabres: Host cross-border rival Toronto on Saturday night.


More AP NHL: and

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


A person wears a mask while walking past a flower display in front of a supermarket on Front Street...
Associated Press

Canada won’t require masks on planes, drops vaccine mandate

TORONTO (AP) — The Canadian government announced Monday it will no longer require people to wear masks on planes to guard against COVID-19.. Transport Canada said the existing rules for masks will come off Oct. 1 “We are able to do this because tens of millions of Canadians rolled up their sleeves and got vaccinated,” […]
1 day ago
United States' Kelsey Plum, right, and China's Li Meng compete for the ballduring their game at the...
Associated Press

China eyeing a medal for first time in 28 years

SYDNEY (AP) — It’s been 28 years since China last won a medal at the World Cup, finishing second in the 1994 games. With a dominant inside presence, led by Han Xu and Li Yueru, plus talented shooters and quick guards, the Chinese team has gotten off to a strong start in Australia and could […]
1 day ago
FILE - Jimmie Johnson sits in his pit box before the final practice for the Indianapolis 500 auto r...
Associated Press

AP Exclusive: Jimmie Johnson to retire from full-time racing

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson is retiring from full-time racing and will turn his focus toward spending time with family. He figures his future schedule will include no more than 10 bucket-list events, but the 47-year-old had no idea Monday what that schedule will look like. Johnson told The Associated Press […]
1 day ago
Australia's Sami Whitcomb reacts after shooting a goal during their game at the women's Basketball ...
Associated Press

Australia hands Canada its first loss of World Cup, 75-72

SYDNEY (AP) — Ezi Magbegor had 16 points and five blocks to help Australia beat Canada 75-72 on Monday night in the women’s World Cup. The win caused a log-jam atop Group B with Australia, Canada and France all with three wins with one game left for each team. “We knew coming into this it […]
1 day ago
FILE - NFC tight end George Kittle, right, of the San Francisco 49ers, catches a pass in front of A...
Associated Press

NFL ends Pro Bowl; skills competitions, flag game instead

The NFL is replacing the Pro Bowl with weeklong skills competitions and a flag football game, The Associated Press has learned. The new event will replace the full-contact showcase started in 1951. It will be renamed “The Pro Bowl Games” and will feature AFC and NFC players showcasing their football and non-football skills in challenges […]
1 day ago
Los Angeles Angels Shohei Ohtani flies out during the first inning of the team's baseball game agai...
Associated Press

Ohtani vs. Judge the latest of baseball’s great MVP races

When Shohei Ohtani is pitching impressively and hitting over 30 homers, he might always be the MVP favorite unless another player in his league comes up with something awfully special. Like hitting 60 home runs, for example. Ohtani vs. Aaron Judge for the American League MVP figures to be the most hotly debated postseason award […]
1 day ago
Cozens scores 2, Sabres snap skid with 3-2 win over Oilers