FINAL: BUF 5 TOR 2
SHOTS: BUF 38 TOR 34
POWER PLAY: 2/2 TOR 0/3
HITS: BUF 20 TOR 7
BLOCKED SHOTS: BUF 15 TOR 2
BUF: Ryan O’Reilly (18) assisted by Tyler Ennis (7) and Kyle Okposo (25)
TOR: Connor Brown (18) unassisted
BUF: Evander Kane (26) assisted by Zach Bogosian (8) and Ryan O’Reilly (32)
TOR: Auston Matthews (34) assisted by Matt Hunwick (15) and William Nylander (36)
BUF: Jack Eichel (22) assisted by Dmitry Kulikov (2) and Kyle Okposo (26)
BUF: Dmitry Kulikov (2) assisted by Tyler Ennis (8) and Jack Eichel (30)
BUF: Jack Eichel (23) assisted by Sam Reinhart (28) and Justin Falk (8)
The Sabres had many players return from injury tonight. Kyle Okposo, Dmitry Kulikov, Justin Falk, and William Carrier all returned as well as Brady Austin who was recalled from Rochester. Hudson Fasching and Justin Bailey were sent down and Rasmus Ristolainen was serving his three game suspension.
The beginning of this game was very exciting. There was a whole lot of speed and scoring chances. Robin Lehner made a terrific glove save on Leo Komarov to keep the game scoreless.
Tyler Ennis made a great spin pass to Ryan O’Reilly and ROR tipped it past Andersen to put Buffalo up 1-0.
Right after O’Reilly’s goal, Brian Gionta chased the puck down and fed the puck in front to Evander Kane but he was robbed by Andersen.
Shortly after that, Lehner made a pad save on Leo Komarov and Rodrigues couldn’t clear the puck then Connor Brown ripped the puck past Lehner tie the game at 1.
Immediately after the Leafs tied the game, Evander Kane picked up the rebound after Zach Bogosian’s shot and buried it past Andersen for his 26th goal of the season. 23 of Kane’s 26 goals have come at even strength. Kane scored just 15 seconds after the Leafs tied the game.
Kyle Okposo took a hooking penalty on Mitch Marner and the Toronto Maple Leafs would get their first power play of the game. Toronto and Buffalo have the two best power plays in the entire NHL. Auston Matthews had a great chance to tie the game up but Jake McCabe made a huge block.
Will Carrier crushed Jake Gardiner in the corner. Earlier in the period, Gardiner made a big hit on Jack Eichel so maybe that was a little sweet revenge by Carrier. Shortly after that, Toronto and Buffalo would take coincidental penalties. Kadri and Kulikov both took holding penalties.
Buffalo dominated possession on that 4 on 4. Eichel made a great pass to Evander Kane but he was robbed by Andersen. That was one terrific period, very entertaining. Hopefully the Sabres wouldn’t have another terrible second period like they do in about 89% of their games.
Toronto made a goalie change at the start of the second period. Curtis McElhinney replaced Frederick Andersen. A few minutes into the second period, Auston Matthews picked up the rebound and put it past Lehner. Kulikov was clueless defensively on that play and I feel like I have said that a lot this season. Right after the goal, Matt Martin knocked Sam Reinhart into Jake McCabe and he would go the the penalty box. And just seconds into Buffalo’s power play, Dmitry Kulikov fed Eichel the puck on the off wing and Eichel hammered the puck past McElhinney to put Buffalo up 3-2.
O’Reilly dangled around the Leafs defense and Jake Gardiner hooked him and Buffalo would go to the power play again. Dmitry Kulikov blasted the puck past McElhinney for his second goal of the season. I have been pretty critical of Kulikov this season but I have to say he looked very good on the first power play unit tonight. He was moving the puck very well.
Lehner absolutely robbed Mitch Marner the red light was on but Lehner kept it out. Lehner has been great for awhile now. Jack Eichel scored his second goal of the game. Reinhart passed it back and Jack ripped the puck past Curtis Backupinney. And all of the sudden
Foligno took a tripping penalty on Connor Brown and it saved a goal. That was a very smart play by the moose. Zemgus Girgensons had a shorthanded 2 on 1 with O’Reilly but was denied by the Toronto netminder. Buffalo would maintain their 5-2 lead heading into the third period. They finally had a good second period.
The Leafs seemed like they came to play for the start of the third. Lehner made a big save on Matthews to keep the score 5-2.
Tyler Ennis and Mitch Marner tripped over each other and Ennis went to the box and the Leafs would get another power play. Don’t know why Marner didn’t go to the box as well but the Sabres did kill the penalty. While on the penalty kill, O’Reilly was denied by the goal post as he nearly made it 6-2.
Eichel was so close to getting another goal after Kane attempted to dish the puck to him on a 2 on 1.
Brian Boyle gave Ennis a good slap to the face when the referee was standing a few feet away from them but there was no penalty called.
With a few minutes to go in regulation, Eichel made a great pass to Reinhart but Samson missed the net. Right after that Girgensons had a great scoring chance but he couldn’t connect.
That was a great win for Buffalo. They will play the Florida Panthers on Monday night and they still have another game against Toronto this season. Hopefully they can play spoiler and maybe knock them out of the playoffs.