The First Niagara Center truly felt like the Air Canada Centre south on Friday night as the Toronto Maple Leafs invaded for the second time this season. The scene around the arena was just a sea of blue and white jerseys and the Leafs fans made their presence known early. Ultimately, those fans all went home quiet as the Sabres were able to pull out a 3-2 overtime victory off the stick of Christian Ehrhoff.
This game was a physical game from the start with both teams throwing their bodies around left and right. After the first period, Toronto was outhitting the Sabres 16-7 and they were the first team on the board with a Phil Kessel shot that beat Miller stick side just 2:12 into the game. But, the Sabres were able to turn things around and get some momentum in the second period. They outshot the Maple Leafs 11-5 and were able to score twice to keep the game tied.
After no goals were scored in the third, a late penalty by Toronto's Paul Ranger that carried into the overtime period gave the Sabres enough offensive momentum to see Christian Ehrhoff score just after the power play ended.
Here's how Ehrhoff saw the play setup. "I saw someone was in front of the net and I just had to shoot it through the guys and I just got it there. I don't think the goalie saw it." Ehrhoff finished the night with the game winning goal and an assist on the Luke Adam goal that tied the game up in the second period.
Unsung Heroes Of the Night
Very quietly, two oft lauded Sabres had fantastic nights against the Maple Leafs. After being in the Sabres doghouse much of last year and starting this season in Rochester, Luke Adam has made the most of his second call up to Buffalo. He finally cashed in during his fourth game of the season with a shot just off the side of the net setup by a nice feed from Ville Leino. The goal is his first since April 5, 2013 against the Ottawa Senators when Adam was called up for a short stint with the team. "It's a relief [to get that goal]. I think each and every game since I've got here, I've been building a little bit at a time, I've been getting more and more confident and I think I should have had a couple more tonight," said Adam after the game.
The second quiet hero of the night was Ville Leino. Leino finished the game with two assists on the scoresheet, but he was buzzing around the net all night and if he wasn't trying to set players up for goals, he was trying to draw penalties. There was one play that sticks out in the third in which Ville stickhandled around the entire offensive zone trying to create something while being held by a Leafs player. Neither a penalty was called nor a goal was created, but the work that was done there eventually led to the holding call that he drew late in the third on Paul Ranger. The Sabres scored the game winner just as time expired on the penalty.
After taking some undisciplined penalties late in the last couple of games, the Sabres were mainly able to stay out of the box against Toronto. The team only gave up one power play to the Maple Leafs early in the third period and were able to kill it off. On the flip side, the Sabres power play was able to generate a goal and half with Matt Moulson scoring on the man advantage and Ehrhoff scoring just as the extra man expired.
"We talked about it today. Toronto has the second best power play in the league and if you give Kessel a few chances on that powerplay he's going to make one," said Coach Ted Nolan about his team's disciplined play against the Leafs.
Three Questions Of the Night
1.) How did Matt D'Agostini Play?
D'Agostini finished the game with 15:39 of ice time, a +1, three shots on goal and four more shot attempts. Coach Ted Nolan had nothing but good things to say about his play after the game. "Players that come from the St. Louis's and the Pittsburghs, those guys know how to play the game right and he did it tonight."
2.) Could Mike Weber turn his game around?
Weber continued his negative trend in plus/minus by finishing the game as a -1. In the 14 games that Weber has played this season, he has only finished even in four of those games, the rest have been negative.
3.) Can the Sabres score more than once?
Yes, it appears that the Toronto Maple Leafs are the cure to the Sabres scoring woes. The last two games the Sabres have scored three goals have come at home against Toronto.
Three Stars of the Night
1.) Luke Adam - Scored the game tying goal and his first of the season.
2.) Christian Ehrhoff - Scored the game winning goal and had an assist on the game tying goal.
3.) Ville Leino - Registered two assists.
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