Chris Drury tied the score with 39.1 seconds left in the third period. Jason Pominville and Paul Gaustad also scored in regulation for the Sabres. Ryan Miller stopped 25 shots and allowed only one goal on four shootout attempts in helping Buffalo defeat one of the NHL's hottest teams.
Markus Naslund, Taylor Pyatt and Jan Bulis scored for the Canucks, who lost for only the second time in 12 games and also had a six-game road win streak snapped.
After both teams scored once on each of their first three shootout attempts, Kotalik scored when he faked going to the forehand and lifted a backhander into the top of the net over Canucks goalie Dany Sabourin.
Miller then got his blocker up to stop Josh Green on the Canucks' final attempt.