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Okposo and Robinson each have a goal and 2 assists as Sabres beat Coyotes 5-2

Buffalo Sabres left wing Eric Robinson (50) celebrates with center Peyton Krebs (19), defenseman Connor Clifton, second from left, and right wing Kyle Okposo (21) after scoring during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Arizona Coyotes in Buffalo, N.Y., Monday, Dec. 11, 2023. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)

Buffalo Sabres left wing Eric Robinson (50) celebrates with center Peyton Krebs (19), defenseman Connor Clifton, second from left, and right wing Kyle Okposo (21) after scoring during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Arizona Coyotes in Buffalo, N.Y., Monday, Dec. 11, 2023. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus

BY JOE YERDON contributing

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Kyle Okposo and Eric Robinson each had a goal and two assists as the Buffalo Sabres beat the Arizona Coyotes 5-2 Monday night.

JJ Peterka, Peyton Krebs, and Rasmus Dahlin also scored, and Connor Clifton had two assists to help the Sabres to their second win in three games. Devon Levi made 21 saves.

“Now we have a template of how we need to play, how we need to work,” Okposo said. “And now we can get better from there. And I think that’s the mantra is continuing to get better every night and build off that. And it’s not hard to play like that. It’s just a commitment to it.”

Michael Kesselring and Michael Carcone scored, and Karel Vejmelka stopped 33 shots in his first start since Nov. 22 for the Coyotes, who have lost three straight following a five-game win streak.

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“We couldn’t make a play,” Coyotes coach André Tourigny said. “Our execution wasn’t there. We could not execute. Then when you don’t execute, you don’t possess the puck. I think we defended fairly well considering we didn’t have the puck, or we couldn’t make a play with the puck.”

The Sabres grabbed a 1-0 lead at 2:25 of the first period when Okposo buried a rebound from a shot by Robinson past Vejmelka for his fifth goal.

Kesselring tied it for the Coyotes at 3:01 of the second as he received a pass from Logan Cooley and beat Levi for his first NHL goal.

“I knew (Cooley) saw me right away, so I didn’t even need to call for it,” Kesselring said. “I knew he was going to make the play and kind of just blacked out there.”

Robinson, acquired from Columbus last Wednesday, got his first goal with the Sabres at 6:14 of the middle period to make it 2-1.

“It’s been a whirlwind, but really exciting and getting to play with (Okposo) and (Krebs) made it easy,” Robinson said. “They’ve been playing hard and straightaway and talking to me all night, so that’s made the transition for me a lot easier.”

Krebs made it a two-goal game at 10:52 when he snapped the puck past Vejmelka after a give-and-go with Okposo.

“I was just kind of the third guy there and it was kind of tight quarters,” Okposo said. “So, once I turned I could see him coming down, so just trying to give him enough time to get in the spot that he needed to, and he made a great shot.”

Peterka made it 4-1 with 4:54 left in the second with his 12th when he banked the puck off Vejmelka’s leg pad.

Carcone’s 14th came short-handed with 7:13 left in the third period and cut the Sabres lead to 4-2. Dahlin’s empty-net goal with 1:05 to play capped the scoring.

Sabres forward Alex Tuch returned to practice on Monday morning and will likely return to the lineup this week. Tuch has been out of the lineup since he sustained a lower-body injury Dec. 3 against Nashville.

Coyotes defenseman Sean Durzi did not play and is listed as day-to-day because of a lower-body injury.

UP NEXT

Coyotes: At Pittsburgh on Tuesday night to conclude a three-game trip.