Mark Pysyk’s mom, Sherry, finally got a chance to journey to Buffalo to see the defenseman play Friday. For 59 minutes, it had to feel like a wasted trip. The Sabres got blown out by the New York Rangers in a game that eliminated them from playoff contention, and the evening was memorable primarily for being so disappointing.

But with 40 seconds left, after most folks had turned their attention elsewhere, a magical moment happened.

Pysyk took a one-timer from the top of the left faceoff circle, and the shot struck Rangers defenseman Steve Eminger. It caromed past goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, and the puck was soon in Pysyk’s possession as the rookie celebrated his first NHL goal in an 8-4 loss.

“Obviously, not where we wanted to be in that hockey game in the last minute there, but I saw it go in and I couldn’t believe it,” Pysyk said Sunday. “I wanted to make sure it didn’t hit one of our guys on the way in. I was definitely pretty excited.”

While the goal meant little to most, it set off a celebration for the Alberta native’s friends and family members.

“Lots of people were pretty excited,” Pysyk said. “My mom was actually here for the game. That was the first game that she saw, so it was pretty cool to score while she was here.”

It was the highlight of Pysyk’s season, and he will try to add more tonight when the Sabres host Winnipeg in First Niagara Center.

The 21-year-old is in his first professional season, and the ultimate goal was to try to appear in a game or two in Buffalo. As the Sabres enter their final week, Pysyk has already played 16 times.