The Buffalo Sabres entered play tonight, looking to avoid a winless road trip and a five-game losing streak. Buffalo also looked to win their first game in Toronto since January 21, 2013.
Things did start off positively for Buffalo, as they were playing a team almost their equal, but the end result was one that would be less than desired.
Newly-minted first line center Johan Larsson opened things up for the Sabres.
At 6:52 of the first, Larsson backhanded a puck home, his third goal of the season, for the 1-0 lead. This entire play was made possible by a bad giveaway on the part of Dion Phaneuf.
Buffalo would maintain their lead, until a 21 second lapse would put them back in a hole.
Toronto was able to tie things at 1, off the stick of Brandon Kozun, on a wrist shot that slipped passed Anders Lindback. This goal came at 14:09 of the first.
Just 21 seconds later, the Maple Leafs would put themselves ahead with a tipped-in shot from Leo Komarov. His 7th goal of the season gave Toronto a 2-1 lead.
Buffalo would not be denied though. Less than two minutes later, an atrocious giveaway would lead to a glorious scoring opportunity.
Tyler Ennis planted himself to the left of Jonathan Bernier, and found himself left alone. Matt Moulson noticed, launched the puck onto Ennis’ stick. No hesitation from Ennis, and the puck was put passed Bernier.
Ennis’ 17th goal of the season, at 16:02, would tie the game at 2.
After one period, we found ourselves with a wide open, yet very sloppy, hockey game.
As the second period began, and progressed, it was evident that sloppy hockey would remain the theme throughout this one.
Buffalo controlled play throughout most of the period, as Toronto just could not get any sort of possession in their offensive zone.
The Sabres were also able to take a one goal lead in the period, thanks to the Leafs aforementioned inability to control any part of the game.
Buffalo’s first line had dominated the score sheet, and there would be nothing different with the Sabres’ third goal.
Matt Moulson, scoring his 10th goal of the season, was assisted by Larsson and Ennis. The goal, at 11:50 of the second period, put Buffalo up 3-2.
Moulson’s goal gave the Sabres’ first line 3 goals and 9 points on the evening.
The Sabres would hold the slight margin over the Maple Leafs, until late in the third period.
With Mike Weber in the box for delay of game, Toronto capitalized.
Tyler Bozak, parked in front of the Sabres’ net, beautifully tipped a Phil Kessel shot passed Anders Lindback.
Bozak’s 19th of the season, on the power play, tied the game at 3.
Things would remain tied through regulation, which sent this game to overtime.
Lucky for us, the game could not be resolved in the five-minute overtime period.
A Tyler Bozak shootout goal would be the difference in this game. Toronto ended up grabbing the victory, 4-3.
The Buffalo Sabres fall to 19-42-6 on the season.
Buffalo will be in action again this Saturday night, when they host the New York Rangers at the First Niagara Center. Puck drops shortly after 7 PM, and the game will be broadcast locally on MSG.