Maple Leafs go to another shootout, beat Sabres to extend winning streak - InfoNews

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Maple Leafs go to another shootout, beat Sabres to extend winning streak

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Tyler Bozak (42) scores the game winning shoot out goal past Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller to defeat the Sabres during NHL hockey action in Toronto on January 15, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
January 15, 2014 - 7:35 PM

TORONTO - From a 15-round shootout and infamous line brawl in the pre-season through John Scott's rare goal and "Princess Phaneuf" comments, the Toronto Maple Leafs and Buffalo Sabres enjoyed some memorable moments in the past few months.

Their fifth and final regular-season meeting Wednesday night at Air Canada Centre was marked by an offensive explosion and entertaining overtime that the Leafs came out on top of 4-3 in a shootout for their third straight victory.

The Leafs and Sabres combined to score four goals in just over eight minutes during a second-period span.

James van Riemsdyk, Joffrey Lupul and Tyler Bozak all scored in the shootout for Toronto (24-20-5).

Phil Kessel, Nikolai Kulemin and Morgan Rielly had the Leafs' regulation goals, while Matt Ellis, Matt Moulson and Cody Hodgson scored for the Sabres (13-28-5).

This was the Leafs' league-leading ninth victory of the season in their 13th shootout.

Leafs goaltender Reimer made 27 saves, picking up his first win since Dec. 19. U.S. Olympic goaltender Ryan Miller, who entered the night with a 2.45 goals-against average and .922 save percentage if 48 career games against the Leafs, stopped 26 of the 29 shots he faced.

This wasn't the tightest defensive effort from the Leafs, who hoped to build off a strong performance at the Boston Bruins on Tuesday. But there was enough offence — and then a shootout — to make up for that.

Kessel had the game's best scoring chance in the early going, clanking a shot off the cross bar behind Miller at the 6:34 mark of the first.

His next shot hit the net. Sabres defenceman Christian Ehrhoff turned the puck over off the boards and right to a waiting Kessel, who found the five-hole on Miller at the 9:21 mark to give the Leafs a 1-0 lead.

Toronto's lead lasted through intermission and until 3:21 into the second when Buffalo's Ellis beat Reimer short-side by banking it off the Leafs goaltender's body and in, starting the run of four goals in 8:01.

It could've been five goals if not for Reimer's penalty-shot save on Zemgus Girgensons at 5:48 of the second. Jake Gardiner tried to impede with Girgensons on his way to the net, but when the Sabres rookie got his chance one-on-one with Reimer, he waited too long and his back-handed attempt hit the goalie's left pad.

Moulson got the puck past Reimer less than a minute later — but just barely. A turnover from Cody Franson sprung Moulson, whose shot rang off the post and across the goal-line into the corner of the net at 6:34 to make it 2-1 Sabres.

The goal was not reviewed, even though slow-motion replays were required to show the puck went into the net.

Kulemin tied the score at 7:23 after taking a pass from Peter Holland and executing a perfect curl and drag before beating Miller. David Clarkson set the screen in front, even jumping as Kulemin released the puck.

Rielly showed instincts beyond his 19 years of age and 40 games of pro experience in scoring the Leafs' third goal at the 11:22 mark. The rookie defenceman moved toward the net while Nazem Kadri controlled the puck behind the net and was in perfect position to fire a shot high-glove side on Miller.

A late-second-period hooking penalty on Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf paved the way for Hodgson's tying goal 43 seconds into the third. But it was hard to excuse Reimer for letting the puck by him from such close range on a rebound whack.

NOTES — Enforcer Colton Orr returned to Toronto's lineup after missing Tuesday's game in Boston with the flu, which has affected several players. Frazer McLaren was scratched to make room for Orr. ... Sabres forward Matt D'Agostini left the game early in the first period with an upper-body injury and did not return. D'Agostini skated just three shifts for 2:19.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2014
The Canadian Press

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