Though the opening face-off was delayed due to a glass repair, both teams came out ready to battle in their second match-up in six days with Linus Ullmark back in the net for the Sabres.
It would be Toronto, though, to score first on a tip-in rebound goal by John Tavares at 4:20. Mitch Marner and Martin Marincin were credited with the assists to give the home team an early lead.
Following a big save by Ullmark on Marincin, the Sabres quickly answered back. In the crease, Jason Pominville tapped in a goal with help from Marco Scandella and Brandon Montour at 6:00 to tie the score up at 1-1.
Just minutes later, the scoreboard would change again and give Buffalo their first and only lead of the game. Conor Sheary’s pretty snapshot on a bouncing puck came at 7:34 after Kyle Okposo flipped the puck to center ice from the Sabres’ end.
Toronto put a lot of pressure on the Sabres during their first power play of the game, but they were not able to score until the final seconds of the first period. With a shot from defenseman Morgan Rielly, the puck dribbled in past Ullmark and the scoreboard read 2-2 going into the first intermission.
Keeping the excitement going, Jeff Skinner had a breakaway in the first half of the second period, but was denied by Leafs goaltender Frederik Anderson. Through back and forth play, the score would remain the same until 15:02 when Nicolas Petan put one past Ullmark with his first goal as a Maple Leaf.
Looking tired, the Sabres would let another goal in during the last minute of play in the second period, making it 4-2 and widening the deficit. The puck went off of Montour’s skate, but Nikita Zaitsev would get credit for the goal with assists from Marner and Tavares.
As the third period clock began its countdown, one player was noticeably absent from the Sabres’ bench: defenseman Jake McCabe. It was reported that he left the ice and would not return for the remainder of the game.
Things did not look up for Buffalo during the final 20 minutes and the third period would prove to be their worst of the game. Marner scored the last goal in the empty net to make the final score a disappointing 5-2 in favor of the Maple Leafs.
The Sabres’ next game will be at home against the Edmonton Oilers on Monday at 7:00 PM.
Final: Leafs 5, Sabres 2
Shots on Goal: Sabres 37 | Leafs 32
Sabres Goal Scorers: Jason Pominville (15th), Conor Sheary (12th)
Leafs Goal Scorers: John Tavares (37th), Morgan Rielly (16th), Nicolas Petan (1st), Nikita Zaitsev (3rd), Mitchell Marner (23rd) (EN)
Three Stars of the Game
- John Tavares (1 G, 2 A)
- Mitchell Marner (1 G, 2 A)
- Nic Petan (1 G)