THE AFTERMATH: MAPLE LEAFS 4, SABRES 3
TORONTO (AP) - Even if they don't make the playoffs, the Toronto Maple Leafs can say they've finally started beating the Buffalo Sabres.
Mikhail Grabovski scored in the second period rookie Nazem Kadri added two assists to help the Toronto Maple Leafs pull out a tense 4-3 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night.
The Maple Leafs are still five points behind eighth-place Buffalo, and two behind Carolina, and will likely need to win all five of their remaining games to have any chance.
"We've just got a bunch of young guys in here right now ... and guys aren't really remembering what (the Leafs) did two or three years ago," said forward Darryl Boyce. "We're just worrying about the present and we're just going to keep rolling along.".... More
With 6:31 left in the second period, Toronto forward Clarke MacArthur curled around the boards in his own end to pick up a loose puck and flipped a “Hail Mary” pass from the left face-off dot across the ice to a streaking Phil Kessel, who received the puck just outside the Buffalo blue line. Kessel took two strides and zipped a pass from the right wing to center ice, finding Mikhail Grabovski, who had squeezed between Mike Weber and Shaone Morrisonn to get behind the Buffal defense, in stride. Grabovski came in alone on Miller and chipped the puck through Miller’s five-hole. The puck trickled by the Sabres netminder and turned out to be the game-winner after Buffalo had battled back to tie the game midway through the second period.
- Forward Mike Grier was listed as a game-time decision but was scratched (knee) for the game along with forward Patrick Kaleta (bone bruise in leg), goaltender Patrick Lalime (knee) and defenseman Jordan Leopold (hand).
- Thomas Vanek scored his 27th goal of the year in the first period. It was the second goal in as many games for Vanek, who had a five-game drought prior to scoring against New Jersey this past Saturday.
- Forward Jochen Hecht was absent from the Sabres’ bench for the second and third periods. Hecht left the game with an upper body injury. Hecht played 5:48 in the first period and registered his 17th assist of the year, which came with only 12 seconds remaining in the first period. He finished the period but did not return.
- Jason Pominville scored his 20th goal of the year – the fifth straight year he has eclipsed the 20 goal plateau.
- The Sabres penalty kill units had a solid night as they killed off five Leaf power plays.
- Cody McCormick was credited with his 12th assist of the year on the Rob Niedermayer goal – a career-high in assists for McCormick.
- Defenseman Tyler Myers led all Sabres with 25:46 of ice time.
- Mancari returned to the lineup after being re-assigned to Portland (AHL) for one day. Mancari registered 11:58 of ice time and four shots on goal. Since March 6, Mancari has played in 11 of 12 games, collecting five points (1-4-5).
- Tonight’s game was the sixth and final meeting of the year between the Leafs and the Sabres. Buffalo ended the year 3-3-0 against Toronto.
The Sabres get right back to work as they host the New York Rangers on Wednesday night to complete their 20th set of back-to-back games this season. The two teams are separated by just two points in the Eastern Conference standings entering Wednesday’s contest, which will be the fourth and final meeting of the season between the teams. The Sabres have gone 1-1-1 in their first three matchups with the Blueshirts, with their lone victory coming in the most recent meeting, which took place back on Mar. 1, as Brad Boyes scored a goal in his Sabres debut to lead Buffalo to a 3-2 win.