The Buffalo Sabres have had the Maple Leafs number in the past few years. They have had a winning season record every season since the lockout, except for this one. The Toronto Maple Leafs pulled the season series to even with their 4-3 victory over the Sabres on Tuesday night. The win also gives the Leafs that glimmer of hope in the playoffs as they are now five points behind the Sabres with five games left.
The Sabres came out of the gate looking like a team that hasn't had much to worry about. The Leafs scored the opening goal at the 1:34 mark from a Dion Phaneuf slapshot that just went through Ryan Miller's glove. The Leafs then went up 2-0 on a Darryl Boyce goal. Thomas Vanek brought the game back to one with 12 seconds left in the first period.
The second period saw four total goals, two each from the Sabres and the Maple Leafs. Those goals were all that the Leafs needed as they shutout the Sabres in the third period. The Leafs outshot the Sabres 35-31 in the game and 14-8 in the final frame. Ryan Miller allowed four goals on 35 shots, the second game in a row that he has allowed four goals against the Leafs.
The defense is the group to blame for this game though as they looked flat-footed all night. Only two defensemen were a plus on the night, Andrej Sekera and Tyler Myers, while Shaone Morrisonn was a team worst -3. The Sabres seemed to find themselves in penalty trouble as well with the Sabres having a total of 14 penalty minutes and gave up five powerplays to the Leafs eight penalty minutes and one powerplay given up. The penalty killer was one of the lone bright spots, killing all five of the powerplays, including an extended five-on-three for the Leafs.
The Sabres can bounce back from this game at home against the New York Rangers. Game time there is 7:00 pm.