Buffalo (21-10-3) vs. Toronto (13-15-8)
The Maple Leafs continue to struggle against the Buffalo Sabres, losing the last nine matchups. Toronto did have a 2-1 lead in the 3rd, but the Sabres tied it up and eventually won the game in overtime.
Six minutes into the game and Buffalo had the lead on a goal from Nathan Paetsch, his first of the season. Toronto fans may have had flashbacks to this past weekend when the Sabres won 5-2. The game looked as if it could have the same ending result.
Toronto stormed back with two goals of their own in the second period. Viktor Stalberg and Ian White each scored to give the Leafs a 2-1 lead after two. Now all Toronto had to do was hold on to their lead. Easier said then done.
Buffalo was without Thomas Vanek and Patrick Kaleta, who are both recovering from injuries. About midway through the third period. Jochen Hecht tipped in a rebound pass Jonas Gustavsson to tie the game at two.
Toronto played very well, and deserved the win, but they were unable to stop the Sabres. Derek Roy took a pass from Hecht, and backhanded it into the net for the overtime win. Toronto leads the league in shots per game, and they fired 36 on Ryan Miller, but he stopped all but two of them.
Throughout the game, Toronto did not get one chance to see their power play unit. Buffalo never took a penalty, and the Leafs only received one.
The Sabres have surrendered two or fewer goals in 13 of their past 15 games. They only allowed three goals in the other two outings. Buffalo’s defense has stepped it up this season, showing that they are a much different team than the one that missed the playoffs the last two years.
In the four games betweent these two teams, Buffalo has outscored Toronto 14-6. The next matchup will be in the beginning of January. Maybe by then, the Leafs will find away to end their losing streak against Buffalo.
Buffalo’s win puts them six points behind the league’s leading New Jersey Devils. With the loss, Toronto falls to 12th in the Eastern Conference. After a slow start, the Maple Leafs are slowly starting to make a move. They are almost back at .500 after the devastaing start they had.
Buffalo will head to Washington on Wednesday to take on the Capitals.