Sabres rally, defeat Leafs in shootout


The Sabres rallied from a two-goal deficit Monday night in Toronto, for a 4-3 shootout victory, with Sam Reinhart getting the deciding goal. After playing well Saturday but falling to the Wild in a shootout, Buffalo was able to redeem themselves against the Leafs in a game they didn’t play especially well.

The first period started as bad as it could with Toronto’s Leo Komarov scoring his 19th of the year on a beautiful cross-ice pass from Nikita Soshnikov just 25 seconds into the game. It was the second time Buffalo has allowed an early goal in the last four games.

Buffalo continued their lackluster play with Evander Kane getting called on a questionable goaltender interference penalty 8:02 in and then Brian Gionta taking a bad tripping penalty on the Leafs William Nylander just 1:33 later. Buffalo killed off the first power play, but Toronto capitalized on the second, with Brad Boyes netting his 8th goal of the year to give the Maple Leafs a 2-0 lead.

Buffalo got their own 5-on-3 power play with about six minutes to go but failed to score, ending the 1st period down 2-.

The first half of the second was quiet, but with less then five minutes to go Mark Pysk scored his first of the year to close the gap to 2-1 Toronto. Buffalo couldn’t get out of the period though down by one. Toronto’s Zach Hyman got a free look in front and jammed home his first of the year and the first of his career to regain Toronto’s two-goal lead. Toronto outshot Buffalo again 15-11 in the second.

In the third period Buffalo started skating and getting opportunities. Rookie Jack Eichel got the Sabres within one when he came in on the left side and took a quick feed from Matt Moulson in front of Garret Sparks and beat him with a laser wrist shot up high. Cal O’Reilly picked up the other assist.

A little more then four minutes later the Sabres tied the game when Sam Reinhart fed the puck left of the crease to Kane on the right who ripped it into the wide open net to tie the game at three apiece.

Overtime was a back and forth affair that saw both goaltenders make great saves. Chad Johnson stopped a nice two-on-one play with a slick glove save. Johnson finished the game with 30 saves on 33 shots. Garret Sparks at the other end made a few quick saves on a rare overtime Buffalo powerplay to keep the game even. Sparks finished the game with 24 saves on 27 shots. Buffalo’s best chance on the powerplay was a one-timer from the top of the point by Eichel that rang off the left post.

The Sabres finally closed out a shootout with Johnson stopping all three shooters and Sam Reinhart scoring Buffalo’s only goal with a great deke on Sparks.

The Sabres return to action Tuesday at 7:00 pm at home against the New York Rangers.

Craig Mazuchowski
Craig Mazuchowski
SUNY Oswego Alumni. Self-taught guitarist. I've been a Sabres and hockey fan since birth. I've also refereed youth hockey and play in a men’s league. My tombstone will be in the shape of pizza.
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