The 2006-2007 Buffalo Sabres were one of the most dominant teams in franchise history and they proved it with an almost impossible comeback against against their division rivals, the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Sabres came into this game with hardly anything on the line. Already sitting comfortably atop the NHL, the Sabres knew they were post season bound so they were simply playing for top spot. On the flip side the Toronto Maple Leafs were clawing away at every point they could possibly get as they were trying to reach the playoffs for the first time since the lockout.
The games first goal came on the Sabres powerplay. After a failed clearing attempt, Defenseman Brian Campbell set up his defensive partner Dimitri Kalinin who made no mistake on the point shot giving Buffalo a 1-0 lead 5 minutes into the hockey game.
After their go ahead goal the sabres began to sit back as the leafs absolutely dominated the rest of the first period. Eventually their hard work payed off as Thomas Kaberle set up Bryan McCabe for a one timer goal tying the game in the final minute of the period.
It only got worse for the Sabres in the second period as the Leafs continued to dominate. Just four minutes into the second period Alex Steen spins off Jaroslav Spacek and finds Matt Stajan going hard to the net and he taps the puck past Ryan Miller giving the leafs their first lead of the game.
The Sabres managed to hold off the surging Leafs for the rest of the period until a costly turn over by Campbell at the blue line leads to a two on one. On the odd man rush Matt Stajan finds Boyd Deveraux who beats the sprawling Miller to give the Leafs a two goal lead.
Three minutes later the Sabres really found out how un-lucky they were on this night as a pass by Campbell intended for Kalinin goes off the referee’s skate and right on to Deveraux’s stick who puts the puck into a wide open net making it 4-1 leafs.
With the Sabres down by three, Sabres sophomore Thomas Vanek decides to draw up his own play as he takes a pass from Derek Roy, skates to the top of the circle and drills one past Andrew Raycroft to cut the lead to 4-2.
The powerplay seemed to be the story of the night for the Sabres, who got their third powerplay goal after Daniel Briere wacked home a rebound from Brian Campbell’s point shot making it a one goal game with a little over 1o minutes remaining in the game.
After scoring two un-answered goals the Sabres started to pin the Leafs in their own zone and finally with 6 minutes remaining they completed the comeback. Daniel Briere sent Jason Pominville on a break away and he went top shelf on Raycroft tying the game up at 4 a piece.
With the momentum now all on the Sabres side, you could tell the leafs had essentially given up. Just 10 seconds later the Sabres came roaring back on a 3 on 2 and Thomas Vanek set up Drew Stafford who tapped just under the glove arm of Raycroft which ended up being the game winning goal.
For the Sabres this game showed a lot of character and determination and once again showed the hockey world that you can never count this team out. As for the Toronto Maple Leafs, they went on to miss the playoffs by a point and many leafs fans cite this game as the dagger to the leafs playoff hopes.