Sabres' road woes continue, fall to Maple Leafs 5-2

Buffalo's road losing streak hits seven games; offense goes cold after the first period

Kyle Powell
March 02, 2019 - 7:27 pm

Photo: John E. Sokolowski - USA TODAY Sports


Despite a promising first period, the Buffalo Sabres' road losing streak hit an unlucky No. 7 with a 5-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto.

It was the second road loss for Buffalo against Toronto in a week's time. The Sabres suffered a 5-3 defeat to the Leafs on Monday night.

Following a delay to the start of the game because of a broken pane of glass, the teams combined for four goals throughout the opening period of play. Toronto scored the first and last goals of the stanza, while Buffalo's tallies came in between.

John Tavares potted a goal just 4:20 into the contest for the home side, but the Sabres responded with a pair of goals from Jason Pominville (6:00) and Conor Sheary (7:34) to take a 2-1 lead. For Sheary, it was his third goal in two games, following a two-goal performance against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday.

With around two-and-a-half minutes left in the opening period, Buffalo had a golden opportunity to extend their lead to 3-1. Sam Reinhart accepted a pass and crossed the blue line as a pair of Toronto defenders got tied up with one another, but Reinhart ripped the far post as he had Andersen beat, but was unable to score.

Two minutes later, the Maple Leafs knotted things up with a goal from defenseman Morgan Rielly. His point shot snuck ever-so-softly through Linus Ullmark with 19.6-seconds left on the clock.

The second period was less eventful, at least early on for both sides.

Buffalo got a great chance to re-gain the lead as Jeff Skinner was sprung on a breakaway at the 7:38 mark of the period. At the end of his shift, Skinner was caught by Rielly in the Leafs end, but not before he was able to get a shot off that was stopped by Andersen.

With 8:20 left in the second, Sabres forward Evan Rodrigues and Toronto forward Kasperi Kapanen dropped the gloves for a brief fight, which earned them five minutes each in the penalty box.

Just 20-seconds after the fight, Brandon Montour took a cross-checking penalty in front of his own net, but Buffalo was able to kill the penalty. On that same penalty kill, Jack Eichel and Scott Wilson were able to team up for a shorthanded attempt, but Wilson fanned on Eichel's one-timer feed in front of Andersen.

The Leafs grabbed their first lead since the opening minutes of the first period, just 1:02 after the Sabres killed off the the penalty to Montour. Nic Petan netted his first goal as a member of the Maple Leafs at the 15:02 mark off a feed from Trevor Moore. Petan was acquired by Toronto from the Winnipeg Jets ahead of Monday's NHL Trade Deadline.

However, the Maple Leafs were not done there.

Toronto found the back of the net in the final minute of play on a wacky bounce off the skate of Montour and in past Ullmark. That made the score 4-2 as both teams entered the locker room for the second intermission.

The third period saw little to no high-danger action at either end of the ice. Buffalo peppered Andersen throughout the period with 20 shots on goal, but not one got past the Toronto netminder.

Mitch Marner sealed things with an empty net goal to make it the 5-2 final score.

The Sabres have not won a road game since January 29 when they beat the Columbus Blue Jackets, 5-4 at Nationwide Arena, coming out of the All-Star Break.


Goal Summary:

First Period:

BUF: 6:00 - Jason Pominville (15) (Zemgus Girgensons, Marco Scandella); 7:34 - Conor Sheary (12) (Kyle Okposo)
TOR: 4:20 - John Tavares (37) (Mitch Marner, Martin Marincin); 19:40 - Morgan Rielly (16) (Auston Matthews, Ron Hainsey)

Second Period:

TOR: 15:02 - Nic Petan (1) (Trevor Moore); 19:05 - Nikita Zaitsev (3) (Mitch Marner, John Tavares)

Third Period:

TOR: 18:03 - Mitch Marner (23) ENG (John Tavares, Jake Muzzin)


Penalty Summary:

First Period:

BUF: 11:21 - Kyle Okposo (Hooking - 2 min.)
TOR: 14:08 - Mitch Marner (Slashing - 2 min.)

Second Period:

BUF: 11:40 - Evan Rodrigues (Fighting - 5 min.); 12:00 - Brandon Montour (Cross-checking - 2 min.)
TOR: 11:40 - Kasperi Kapanen (Fighting - 5 min.)

Third Period:

2:22 - John Tavares (Hooking - 2 min.)

Shots on Goal:

BUF: 37 (10, 7, 20)
TOR: 31 (16, 7, 8)


BUF: Linus Ullmark - 27 saves
TOR: Frederik Andersen - 35 saves

Power Plays:

BUF: 0 for 2 (0%)
TOR: 0 for 2 (0%)

Three Stars:

  1. John Tavares - TOR
  2. Mitch Marner - TOR
  3. Nic Petan - TOR

What's Next:

It's back to KeyBank Center for a Monday night bout with the Edmonton Oilers. Faceoff is set for 7 p.m., with pre-game coverage on WGR Sports Radio 550 starting at 6 p.m. with Mike Schopp & the Bulldog from (716) Food and Sport. 

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