After losing the first game of a home-and-home series by a score of 5-3 on Friday, the Sabres welcomed their arch rival Toronto Maple Leafs to even their preseason series. However, Toronto ended up victorious again, earning a 3-2 win over the Sabres at KeyBank Center on Saturday.
The Sabres got off to a hot start, with their power play unit capitalizing on an early penalty by the Leafs, which resulted in a Kyle Okposo goal. Buffalo finished 1-for-3 with the man advantage in the opening period, but ended the game with one goal on four opportunities, while Toronto finished the night with a 1-for-2 effort with the man advantage.
Eichel ▶️ Okposo 🚨
Reinhart picks up an 🍎 pic.twitter.com/iDSrHjYarj
— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) September 22, 2018
Carter Hutton played an early role in Buffalo’s success, stopping all 12 shots in the first period, which included a couple breakaway saves against Toronto. He finished the game with 28 saves on 31 shots in his first full appearance for the Sabres.
“[Hutton] was excellent, he really kept us in there. It’s great that he can play the puck, he can break it out for us. I’m just glad he’s settled in, he’s just where we’ve thought he’d be at this point.”- Phil Housley
Hutton denies Marleau ❌ pic.twitter.com/safnBJuoLe
— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) September 23, 2018
The Maple Leafs continued to get ample shooting opportunities, and finally showed it on the score sheet with two quick goals to open the second period. Auston Matthews and Jeremy Bracco put Toronto in the lead, while Buffalo struggled to maintain the same success from the opening frame that helped them go out in front.
However, they regained composure as the period wound down, and resulted with Jeff Skinner scoring his first goal off a pass from Sam Reinhart, which evened the game up after two periods.
Frederick Andersen started the game for Toronto, allowing two goals on 21 shots through 40 minutes of play, but Calvin Pickard was solid in the third. After earning 14 saves in his lone period of work, he helped Toronto to victory. The win kept the Maple Leafs unbeaten in the preseason, while the Sabres lost their second straight game and fell to 2-2.
Jeff Skinner scored his first goal for Buffalo late in the second to tie the game. His goal came off a Sam Reinhart assist in his first game back after signing a new contract.
Former Sabre Tyler Ennis also played a role for his new team, helping Matthews score Toronto’s first goal of the game.
The Sabres will continue their preseason when they face the Columbus Blue Jackets for the second time. Buffalo won 4-1 in their preseason opener last Monday. This will be the “Kraft Hockeyville USA game” and will take place in Clinton, NY, with puck drop scheduled for 7 p.m.