The Buffalo Sabres need to win out if they have any chance of making the playoffs. Their first win in their last three came in spectacular fashion as they came back from a three goal deficit to beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 6-5 in overtime.
The game started with a bang as Marcus Foligno leveled Carl Gunnarsson behind the net and Foligno was one of the few Sabres that actually showed up in the first period. He had an impressive fight with Matt Frattin in the middle of the first and was throwing the body around pretty regularly. Unfortunately for the Sabres, no one else decided to show up early as they were outclassed quickly by Toronto.
Tyler Bozak got on the scoreboard first as he found a loose puck in front of the net and jammed it past Ryan Miller. It wouldn't be the only time that Bozak would score as he would net his second of the game just eight minutes later, this time on a nice feed in front of the net from Phil Kessel. Matt Frattin got in on the scoring less than two minutes later on a shot that rifled over Ryan Miller's shoulder. The Sabres couldn't get the puck on net in the first period only managing nine shots on goal and Ryan Miller couldn't make the key save, allowing three goals on 13 shots.
The Sabres got on the scoreboard in the second period as Tyler Ennis bounces a puck over Ben Scrivens in the final seconds of the Sabres first power play. Assists on the goal came from Marcus Foligno and Alexander Sulzer. Sulzer had a goal of his own six minutes later as he rifles a puck through traffic and over the glove of Ben Scrivens. What the Sabres didn't do well in the first period, they did much better in the second as they got 19 shots on net and only allowed six to Toronto.
The Maple Leafs killed all of the second period momentum the Sabres could have as former Sabre Clarke MacArthur scored 1:28 into the period on a open man in front of the net. Derek Roy cut the Leafs lead back to one as he scored less than a minute later on the power play. That was all for naught though as Jake Gardiner took the puck completely around the net with Sulzer hanging on him and beat Ryan Miller pretty cleanly at the 10:39 mark of the third period. Alexander Sulzer would redeem himself with a late goal to bring the Sabres to back within one.
Then the crazy happened. With 1:53 left in the game, Jordan Leopold was the last guy to touch the puck in a scrum in front of the net that could have very easily been whistled dead but it wasn't:
That would tie the game at five each and in overtime, Derek Roy finished it with a power play goal game winner:
The Sabres will now wait until Thursday as the Capitals take on the Panthers in Florida and the Sabres take on the Flyers in Philadelphia. The Sabres are tied with the Capitals for the final playoff spot and four points behind the Panthers. The Sabres could feasibly leapfrog the Panthers if it comes down to a tiebreaker.
Thoughts, comments and opinions on the game after the jump.
- The Sabres did do one thing pretty well all game and that was bringing the physicality on the Leafs. Marcus Foligno led the way with four hits and the Sabres did outhit the Leafs 14-13 in the game. Foligno's ability to throw the body around gave some Leafs pause when he was on the ice and they actively tried to avoid him late in the game.
- Alexander Sulzer has quietly become a solid defender on this team and could become part of the Sabres future after this season. He is currently on a career high three game point streak and recorded his first multi-point game since January 23, 2011 against the Edmonton Oilers. His two goals doubled his career totals from two to four as well. On the flip side, he was also a major part of the last two Maple Leafs goals, including not getting Jake Gardiner off the puck for the Leafs' fifth goal.
- Marcus Foligno had his best career night as he registered the team high four hits, an assist, and the night's first star. Lindy Ruff was just as impressed with his play as well:
"He was incredible tonight. He came out just stomping. The hit, the fight, the next hit, the way he took the puck to the net. He has really gained a lot of confidence and he's using his size. If you want to look at that play, Komisarek basically jumped on his back and smashed his head on the ice and he did everything he could to get the puck in the paint. I think he singlehandedly helped this team win the game."
- Ryan Miller didn't look fantastic to start the game but he did settle down and make some fantastic saves to keep the team in the game. Miller finished the night with only 20 saves on 25 shots but made 10 of 12 in the final two periods. At the other end of the ice, Ben Scrivens made 39 saves on 45 shots, but looked extremely shaky at certain times in the game.