Tonight, the Buffalo Sabres were in Toronto to close out their season series with the Maple Leafs. Buffalo was trying to recover after a tough 4-3 loss on Tuesday to the Philadelphia Flyers. It was another tough battle between the rivals, but the Leafs came up victorious in the shootout 4-3.
Toronto was the only team to get on the board in the first period. Phil Kessel notched his 22nd goal of the year off of a Sabres turnover that beat Ryan Miller through a screen. Toronto also out shot the Sabres in the period 12-8.
In the second period, the Sabres got on the board with a goal by Matt Ellis just 3:21 into the period. Zemgus Girgensons was then awarded a penalty shot after Jake Gardiner held him on his breakaway attempt, but James Reimer stopped his backhand try to keep the game tied. Shortly after, Matt Moulson scored his team-leading, fifteenth goal to give Buffalo a 2-1 lead. Toronto responded with two more goals from Nikolai Kulemin and Morgan Reilly to regain the lead. Buffalo out shot the Leafs in the second period 10-7, but still trailed 19-18 in total shots.
The Sabres were able to tie the game at three just 43-seconds into the third period. After a Dion Phaneuf penalty carried over from the second period, Cody Hodgson was able to cash in on a loose puck that gets past Reimer for the goal. The Leafs and Sabres would both get their chances in the third, but both goaltenders shut the door to force overtime.
Toronto got a power play in the overtime period, but Ryan Miller stood strong in the extra frame to help force a shootout.
In the shootout, the Leafs get goals from van Riemsdyk. Lupul, and Bozak to beat Buffalo’s one from Matt Moulson to win the game, 4-3.
Ryan Miller had an impressive game by making 36 saves on 39 shots faced. However, Miller knew he was bad in the shootout, and knows he has to be better.
“I just didn’t have good positioning on any of those. My bad,” said Miller.
Zemgus Girgensons responded from being placed on the third line with Brian Flynn and Ville Leino by leading the team with six shots and 13 hits. Girgensons was one hit away from tying the NHL record for hits in one game.
In Tyler Myers’ return from his three-game suspension, he registered assisted on Ellis’ goal, had three shots, four hits, and led the team with 26:02 of total ice-time.
“I thought Tyler played with some pizazz, some energy. It was one of his best games of the year,” said Ted Nolan following the loss about Myers.
Matt D’Agostini was injured in the first period of the game with an unknown upper-body injury. He only played 2:19 of total ice-time and did not return after the 7:05 mark of the first period. According to Ted Nolan, D’Agostini could be out “a little while”.
Buffalo’s next game is on Saturday night as the Sabres host the Columbus Blue Jackets from the First Niagara Center. Faceoff is scheduled for 7pm and the game can be seen on MSG.