The Buffalo Sabres continued their preseason schedule tonight with their second straight game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. After dropping their first meeting last night by a score of 3-0 at the Ricoh Coliseum in Toronto, the Sabres looked to even the score, but failed to do so, falling 3-1 at the KeyBank Center.
The scoring opened just over five minutes into the game courtesy of Toronto’s James van Riemsdyk. van Reimsdyk’s second preseason goal turned out to be the lone tally in the first as Buffalo went into the locker room trailing 1-0, being outshot by Toronto 12-5. The silver lining that came out of the opening frame was Robin Lehner, who continued his strong performance thus far in the preseason, stopping 11 of 12 in the first.
The second period began similar to the way the first ended, with Toronto taking control of the game. As the period went on, the Sabres got back in the game as Hudson Fasching tying the game at 1-1. As the period came to a close, Evander Kane nearly gave Buffalo their first lead of the night, but instead Matt Moulson took a tripping penalty on the very same play. Kane’s minor would carry over into the third, as well as Toronto’s shot advantage, holding a 24-16 lead in that department after two periods. Lehner continued the Sabres’ strong play in net this preseason, despite any notable offensive production.
Under a minute into the third period, Kaspari Kapanen put the Leafs up 2-1 on the power-play. As the period progressed, the action went back and forth on both sides as Toronto held a 29-21 shot advantage. Coach Phil Housley pulled Lehner with the hopes of sending the game into overtime. But the Maple Leafs would not be denied the victory, as Nikita Shosnikov put the game away with just over a minute to go.
“We’re just going to have to raise our standard as individuals” said head coach Phil Housley. “As a team, I think they understand that. It’s a good group in there.”
Hudson Fasching was the lone positive for the blue and gold, as he provided a glimpse of what he is capable of once the season gets underway. With this loss, the Sabres fall to an overall record of 1-2-1 through four preseason games. Next, they will travel to PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh this Wednesday to take on the reigning back-to-back Stanley Cup Champions. After winning 4-3 in OT against the Penguins at Pegula Ice Arena last Tuesday, Buffalo will attempt to sweep the Penguins this preseason in their final game away from KeyBank Center before the start of the regular season. Puck drop is at 7PM.