Photo: Aaron Doster - USA TODAY Sports

Maple Leafs ride fast start to 5-3 win over Sabres

Andrew Oglevie, C.J. Smith, and Tage Thompson find the net for Buffalo in the loss

September 21, 2018 - 7:55 pm

John Tavares scored twice and Curtis McElhinney stopped 20 shots in relief, leading the Maple Leafs to a 5-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Friday at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto.

The goals came early and often - four in the first 3:42 to be exact - resulting in a quick 3-1 lead for the Maple Leafs. Buffalo opened the scoring only 30-seconds in on Andrew Oglevie's first goal of the preseason, but Ron Hainsey responded only 18-seconds later. Just 23 seconds after Hainsey's game-tying goal, Pierre Engvall beat Linus Ullmark for the 2-1 lead. Then, John Tavares slammed home a big rebound a few minutes later to put the Leafs ahead by two goals. 

C.J. Smith's strong preseason continued later in the period with a goal to cut the Toronto lead to 3-2. Smith got the puck off a faceoff in the Leafs zone, waited out the goalie and found the back of the net for his first goal of the preseason.

The Sabres tied things up at 3-3 at the 6:08 mark of the second period thanks to a pretty goal by Tage Thompson. The young Sabres forward gathered a loose puck on a Leafs giveaway, skated in on a 2-on-1 with Alex Nylander, toe dragged the defenseman, and snapped a shot past McElhinney to tie the game.

Toronto struck back, however, on Chris Mueller's first goal of the preseason. The West Seneca native pushed his way to the net and beat Ullmark, putting the Leafs ahead 4-3. In the third period, Tavares tucked home an empty-netter for his second goal of the night and good for a 5-3 final.

After allowing three goals in less than four minutes to open the game, Ullmark settled down, making several strong stops along the way and finishing with 27 saves. McElhinney stopped all 20 shots he faced in relief of Garret Sparks, who allowed three goals on 12 shots.


Goal Summary:

First Period:

BUF: 0:30 - Andrew Oglevie (2) (Casey Nelson); 11:28 - C.J. Smith (1) (Nicholas Baptiste)
TOR: 0:48 - Ron Hainsey (1) (Unassisted); 1:11 - Pierre Engvall (1) (Colin Greening, Rasmus Sandin); 3:42 - John Tavares (3) (Timothy Liljegren, Mitch Marner)

Second Period:

BUF: 6:08 - Tage Thompson (1) (Unassisted)
TOR: 10:55 - Chris Mueller (1) (Unassisted)

Third Period:

BUF: None
TOR: 19:16 - John Tavares (4) EN (Unassisted)


Penalty Summary:

First Period:

BUF: None 
TOR: None

Second Period:

BUF: 3:23 - Matt Tennyson (Slashing - 2 min.)
TOR: 19:47 - Josh Jooris (Tripping - 2 min.)

Third Period:

TOR: 6:44 - Timothy Liljegren (Holding - 2 min.); 9:47 - Timothy Liljegren (Hooking - 2 min.)

Shots on Goal:

BUF: 32 (8, 12, 12)
TOR: 32 (10, 14, 8)


BUF: Linus Ullmark - 27 saves
TOR: Garret Sparks - 9 saves; Curtis McElhinney - 20 saves

Power Plays:

BUF: 0 for 3 (0%)
TOR: 0 for 1 (0%)

Three Stars:

  1. John Tavares - TOR
  2. Tage Thompson - BUF
  3. Curtis McElhinney - TOR

What's Next:

The Sabres and Maple Leafs will meet up for the second straight night, this time at KeyBank Center on Saturday. Faceoff is set for 7 p.m. and can be heard on WGR Sports Radio 550 with Dan Dunleavy and Rob Ray on the call.

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