John Tavares netted the overtime winner, Frederik Andersen made 29 saves, and the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Buffalo Sabres 2-1 in overtime Saturday night at Scotiabank Arena.
Rasmus Ristolainen provided the spark in the 3rd period by knotting the game up at 1, with a nifty bit of work in front of the net. Ristolainen took a Brandon Montour pass at the right point and eased toward the face-off dots. When he saw no Leafs defender shading to him, he decided to take it to the rack and deposited his second goal of the season to the right of Andersen. Jack Eichel extended his point streak to nine games with the secondary assist on the play.
The Sabres actually appeared to potentially tie the game earlier in the second period. Conor Sheary took a shot towards Andersen’s glove side from the slot. The goaltender made the glove save, but the referees went over to review the play. From the over-head camera, it appeared as though Andersen made the save without much fanfare. However, from the goal-cam, it appeared that the puck was over the line whilst in the goalie’s glove. The replay though proved to be inconclusive enough to confirm the on-ice no-goal call.
However, it was Tavares who stole the show in overtime. The Sabres, coming off of an excellent back-hand chance in front of the net by Marcus Johansson, got back to play in the defensive zone. However, Toronto was in control of the puck and Kasperi Kapanen and Tavares worked a neat cross-over with each other with Kapanen dropping the puck to the moving Tavares, and the latter ripped a shot over Carter Hutton’s glove to finish the contest.
William Nylander also scored a power-play marker for Toronto in regulation. His goal was eerily similar to Ristolainen’s, as it saw him drive the net from the left side and use Hutton’s stick like a ramp to jam it home for the first score of the contest.
The loss can’t be handed to Carter Hutton, as he was excellent in net for Buffalo, making 41 saves on 43 shots on target.
Frederik Andersen was both lucky and strong in this contest. He made 29 saves on 30 shots, some of which were outstanding. He made a particularly pretty glove save on Conor Sheary (no, not “that one”) as he slid to his left and flashed the leather to keep the Sabres off the board to that point. However, if it was possible to take your nets out to dinner, Andersen probably would, as the Sabres were stymied by three posts on the evening, aside from the no-goal review.
Up next for Buffalo will be a tilt with the New Jersey Devils at KeyBank Center in Buffalo. The game will be the final home-game for a while, as the Sabres make a western Canada trip later in the week. Puck-drop for the New Jersey contest will be 7:00 PM from the foot of Washington Street.