Buffalo 5 - Toronto 4 (SO)
Thursday, March 21, 2013
First Niagara Center
The last time the Toronto Maple Leafs visited First Niagara Center, the Buffalo Sabres saw a key win slip through their fingers seconds away from forcing a shootout.
Maple Leafs fans exited to a different tune Thursday night when Steve Ott’s goal in the sixth round of the shootout silenced the Toronto faithful inside a mixed arena as the Sabres escaped with a 5-4 victory over their Northeast rivals.
The Sabres overcame an early deficit and countless momentum shifts in the concluding game of the season series against Toronto. After falling behind 2-0 in the first period, Christian Ehrhoff assisted on Buffalo’s first two goals and scored one of his own in the third period to give the Sabres their first lead and his third multi-point game this season.
Tyler Ennis had a goal and an assist and Cody Hodgson tallied two assists. Jason Pominville ended his eight-game scoring drought with his goal midway through the second period and Marcus Foligno also scored. Only Tyler Bozak could solve Ryan Miller in the shootout after the goalie made 30 saves in regulation.
Buffalo outshot Toronto 36-34 and improves to 4-2 on the year in shootouts.
Toronto scored twice off its first three shots of the game. Tyler Bozak tallied first at the 11:12 mark on the power play and Nazem Kadri made it 2-0 just over a minute later. The Sabres would get on the board with 18:54 gone when Steve Ott found Tyler Ennis open outside the crease from behind the Toronto net. Ennis beat James Reimer five-hole with one second left on the Sabres’ power play for his ninth goal of the season. The teams combined for 48 penalty minutes, 29 of which came via Colton Orr.
Toronto upped its lead to 3-1 with 8:32 gone but Marcus Foligno brought the Sabres back to within one again just over three minutes later. After slipping on a breakaway opportunity, Foligno recovered and six seconds later flicked a rebound over a flailing Reimer for his fourth goal this season. Jason Pominville then tied the game when Cody Hodgson found him open in the slot where Pominville’s wrist shot beat Reimer glove side.
The Sabres wasted little time in the final period to take their first lead of the game. Just 22 seconds in and on the power play, Christian Ehrhoff blasted a slapshot through a screen by Reimer stick side for his third point on the night. The Leafs evened things up again at the 13:27 mark on a power-play goal by Kadri, his second of the game.
Toronto won the shot battle 4-2 but neither team found the net in the extra period. In the shootout, Drew Stafford and Ott each found the net while Bozak scored for the Leafs. Miller stopped former Sabre Clarke MacArthur to seal the win.
BEHIND THE NUMBERS
Buffalo has points in four straight home games (3-0-1) ... Colton Orr’s 29 penalty minutes are the most for a Sabres opponent since Jan. 18, 2008 when Eric Boulton also had 29 for Atlanta … Marcus Foligno has six points (1+5) in six career games against Toronto … With his goal, Pominville leads all active Sabres with 48 points (18+30) in 50 games against the Maple Leafs … Buffalo has recorded a power-play goal in three straight games for the first time this season … The Sabres are 6-5-2 against Northeast Division opponents this season … This was the 188th game all-time between Buffalo and Toronto; Buffalo leads the series with a 104-61-23 record. The Sabres are 62-25-8 at home against the Maple Leafs all-time.
Thomas Vanek sat out his fourth game this season after he was hit by a Christian Ehrhoff slapshot during Tuesday’s game against Montreal … Andrej Sekera (upper body) was inactive for the third straight game … Nathan Gerbe was Buffalo’s only healthy scratch.
BUFFALO’S REAL-TIME STATS LEADERS
Time on Ice: Christian Ehrhoff, 27:01
Shots: Cody Hodgson/Tyler Ennis, 4
Blocked Shots: Kevin Porter, 2
Hits: Steve Ott/Marcus Foligno, 5
Faceoffs Wins: Hodgson, 6 (6-5)
Total Faceoffs: Ott, 15 (4-11)
BUFFALO’S RECORD WHEN...
Opponent scores first: 4-11-1
Trailing after the first period: 1-7-0
Tied after the second period: 6-4-0
Game ends in a shootout: 4-2
Overall: 14/113 (12.4%)
Home: 8/57 (14%)
Overall: 95/122 (77.9%)
Home: 34/46 (73.9%)
* Saturday at Montreal, 7 p.m.
* Tuesday at Tampa Bay, 7:30 p.m.
* Thursday at Florida, 7:30 p.m.