Sabres put up five against Leafs


A strong 38-save performance from Chad Johnson along with multi-point efforts by five Sabres helped Buffalo blow past the Toronto Maple Leafs, 5-3, Monday night at KeyBank Center in the first of four meetings between the rivals.

After giving up a two-goal lead midway through the second period, Zemgus Girgensons and Ryan O’Reilly quickly gave Buffalo another two-goal lead as they scored two minutes and five seconds apart.

Johan Larsson pushed the lead to three halfway through the third until Mitch Marner scored on a six-on-four power play late in the third after head coach Mike Babcock decided to pull his goalie with two and a half minutes left in regulation.

The win gives Buffalo its 10th at home and their fourth win in their last six games. For Toronto, their losing streak has now reached four as they go winless on their three-game road trip, but they still sit firmly in the third spot in the Atlantic at 85 points, holding a 15-point lead on the Florida Panthers while trailing second place Boston by three points.

Rasmus Ristolainen had two early assists as both Sam Reinhart and Jason Pominville each tipped in point shots to open up scoring in the first three and a half minutes of the game.

Ristolainen also added in a fighting major as he scrapped with Nazem Kadri. Kadri took exception to a Ristolainen hit behind the Buffalo net. Kadri cross checked Ristolainen, breaking his stick in the process, which led to the two dropping the gloves.

Along with Ristolainen, the Sabres also has two-point nights from O’Reilly, Pominville, Reinhart, and Larsson with the latter four all netting a goal and an assist each.

Leo Komarov had two goals for the Leafs in the loss and Frederick Anderson had 19 saves. The Leafs have given up 10 goals in their last two games.

With his two point night, Reinhart has 23 points in his last 22 games (9 goals, 14 assists) and has 13 points in his last 13 home games. O’Reilly has 12 points in his last 11 games. Johnson has won five of his last six starts.

The Sabres look to keep their hot streak going on Wednesday as they host the struggling Calgary Flames at 7:30 p.m. EST. They play the Maple Leafs three more times before the end of the season, with their next bout taking place next Thursday March 15th at KeyBank Center.



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