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Game Recap

Sabres swept by Toronto

Buffalo falls to Leafs four fourth time this season

Although the Sabres struck first and held onto the lead in the first period, the Toronto Maple Leafs (44-25-5) leave Buffalo with a 4-2 win for just the second time in six games.

Trailing 1-0 after an opening period the Leafs responded by scoring three consecutive goals, including John Tavares and Mitchell Marner scored 1:50 apart. Tavares and Auston Matthews each had a goal and assist — Matthews reached 200 NHL points for the Leafs. Zach Hyman also scored on an empty net, pushing the Maple Leafs within four points of the Boston Bruins for second place in the Atlantic Division standings.

“The little slump we’ve been in late, it’s frustrating for everybody. You try to stay positive,” Matthews said. “Everybody was prepared tonight despite the back to back, and everybody came out flying.”

Casey Mittelstadt and Alexander Nylander (his first of the season) scored the only goals for Buffalo. This loss means the Sabres, now 31-33-9, have gone 41 games since winning consecutive outings on Dec. 11-13. Carter Hutton made 42 saves in a game Toronto outshot Buffalo 46-24. Rasmus Dahlin, who recorded the primary assist on Casey Mittelstadt’s goal, now has 39 points (8G, 31A) on the season, passing Bobby Orr for second-most points by an 18-year-old defenseman in NHL history. He trails only Phil Housley (57 points in 1982-83).

“It’s obviously frustrating here on home ice,” Hutton said. “We get a big win and then we can’t answer the bell here today.”

Garret Sparks stopped 22 shots for Toronto, who was playing on consecutive nights after a 3-0 loss at Nashville.

“Just tonight, if I’m looking at tonight, I’m very, very disappointed in our game, because it’s a rivalry and we knew the magnitude of the game, and we didn’t execute,” Coach Phil Housley said.

The Sabres will get a short break before opening a three-game road trip against Montreal Canadiens on Saturday.

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NHL Standings

TEAMGPRECPTS
Atlantic Division Leaders:
5129-10-1270
4929-15-563
4928-16-561
Metropolitan Division Leaders:
5034-11-573
5031-14-567
4929-15-563
Wild Card leaders:
5127-16-862
5029-18-361
-----------------------------------------
5027-17-660
5026-17-759
4922-20-751
5122-22-751
4823-21-450
4917-23-943
4918-24-743
5112-35-428
TEAMGPRECPTS
Central Division Leaders:
5030-12-868
4928-15-662
4928-17-460
Pacific Division Leaders:
5028-18-460
4926-18-557
5026-19-557
Wild Card leaders:
5126-20-557
5225-20-757
-----------------------------------------
5125-22-454
5124-21-654
5023-21-652
4822-19-751
5122-25-448
4919-25-543
5018-27-541