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Game Recap

Sabres Fall to North of the Border Rivals

Early deficit too much to overcome vs. Maple Leafs

Recap

It was another Buffalo home game where Toronto fans dominated the seats inside KeyBank Center. The last time this happened, it appeared to galvanize the boys in blue in gold, inspiring them to play with amplified pride to defend home turf.

Wherever that pride was, tonight, it certainly wasn’t in the building, as Toronto handled the Sabres with ease en route to a 5-2 victory.

The game was an eerie mirror image of the last time these two teams met, which was just ten days ago. On that night, Buffalo went ahead early, and then threatened to collapse as Toronto made a rally. The Sabres righted the course before Toronto could pull away, ultimately controlling the rest of the game to finish with a 5-3 win.

Tonight, it was Toronto who got the early edge, blindsiding the Sabres with two early goals that set the tone for the game before seven minutes had even been played. Buffalo feigned a comeback late in the first period on a power-play goal by Sam Reinhart, but any momentum it may have amassed after 20 minutes faded by the time the second period commenced.

Toronto added another pair in the middle frame, effectively locking down the game as Buffalo’s offense largely stumbled throughout the night. The Sabres’ only other goal on the evening came late in the second from Jason Pominville, but it was nowhere near enough to crack a Maple Leafs squad that was bursting with energy.

The two teams entered the contest on very different circumstances. Buffalo had the last four days off, having not played since last Saturday, where they dropped a matinee shootout to the visiting Vegas Golden Knights. The Leafs, meanwhile, had won two in a row, including a 5-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. They were in the latter half of a back-to-back on consecutive nights; the evening before coming to Buffalo, they earned a dramatic 6-5 shootout win at home over the Dallas Stars.

Toronto goals on the evening came from James van Riemsdyk (who scored twice), Connor Carrick, Tyler Bozak, and Patrick Marleau, who tapped in an easy empty-netter at the tail end of the contest.

Buffalo and Toronto still have two more meetings to get through before the end of the season, and their next will come in less than two weeks on March 26th. The Sabres will have Friday off before returning to the ice for another afternoon matchup, this time against the visiting Chicago Blackhawks. That game will commence at 1:00 PM from KeyBank Center.

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