Toronto defeats the Sabres 5-2

Buffalo scores two power play goals in loss

Pat Malacaro
March 15, 2018 - 7:08 pm

Photo: Kevin Hoffman - USA TODAY Sports


The Toronto Maple Leafs rode two James van Riemsdyk first period goals on their way to a 5-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night at KeyBank Center.

Here's how the game unfolded:

First Period:

16:21 - MAPLE LEAFS GOAL. Toronto flips the script on the Sabres from their last meeting. Tonight it is the visitors that score early, on a bad angle shot. James van Riemsdyk shoots the puck with his back to the boards along the goal line extended, and Robin Lehner had his pads open off of the post. The puck leaks in and it is a deficit for the blue and gold. 1-0 TOR.

13:58 - Buffalo is being outplayed early. Toronto had a game last night at home against Dallas, but they look like the fresher team. They are skating with a purpose and controlling the puck. Shots are 6-3 in favor of the Leafs.

13:21 - MAPLE LEAFS GOAL. Yikes! Justin Bailey backs off his man in the slot, who is James van Riemsdyk. The goal scorer unleashes a beautiful wrist shot into the top corner of the net that I am not sure anyone would stop. This crowd is very much a Toronto crowd. The cheers for the goal were very, very loud. 2-0 TOR.

8:04 - It took nearly thr first ten minutes of the game, but the Sabres have finally settled down and are starting to get the puck into the Toronto end with more regularity and possession time. Shots are 13-5, but I would say the play has been much more even over the last two or three minutes.

6:27 - Give Nate Beaulieu a ton of credit, he tries to get his teammates going by dropping the gloves with Matt Martin. That is one very large task, but the Buffalo rear guard more than held his own. I would say that Beaulieu landed the better of the shots, connecting on the button several times. That was the " let's get something going" fight from the Sabre.

5:31 - SABRES GOAL. Sam Reinhart was in the right place, at the right time, on the power play, and Buffalo gets rewarded. He is able to shovel the puck into a wide open net after gaining position at the blue paint and converting a rebound. That is exactly what Buffalo needed. 2-1 TOR.

End of Period

Goal Summary:

BUF: 14:29 - Sam Reinhart (18) PPG (Scott Wilson, Evan Rodrigues)
TOR: 3:39 - James van Riemsdyk (30) (Morgan Rielly, Connor Brown). 6:39 - James van Riemsdyk (31) (Roman Polak, Jake Gardiner) 

Penalty Summary:

BUF: 13:33 - Nate Beaulieu (5 min., fighting)
TOR: 13:33 - Matt Martin (5 min., fighting). 13:36 - Roman Polak (2 min., interference)

Shots on Goal:

BUF - 11, TOR - 18


Second Period:

17:00 - A much slower start to the middle frame that the first twenty minutes. Each side has one shot on goal, with no real chances to show for it.

16:09 - Some aggressive play by the blue and gold results in another power play. Jake Gardiner is called for slashing, giving Buffalo their second power play of the game.

13:38 - MAPLE LEAFS GOAL. The deficit is back up to a pair as a shot from the point slutters through a host of bodies, and makes its way into the net. I am not sure if the puck was deflected on the way through. 

7:59 - The pace of this period has slowed to a crawl. Shots are 8-5 in favor of the blue and gold, but trail by two still.

7:32 - Buffalo's first minor of the night goes to Brendan Guhle. The defenseman is called for slashing.

5:50 - MAPLE LEAFS GOAL. I know Buffalo was on the penalty kill, but their defense was soft, and a near clear out of the zone that was kept in extends the visitor's lead to three. Rasmus Ristolainen just lunged his stick at the puck and it allows Tyler Bozak to streak to the front of the net and convert on the score. 4-1 TOR.

3:34 - Buffalo has a 4-on-3 power play for about a minute as Mitchell Marner called for hooking.

:58.5 - SABRES GOAL. Buffalo had some very good, sustained zone time thanks to a couple of consecutive penalties called on Toronto, and they capitalize. Jason Pominville tips home a shot from the point and re-directs it into the back of the net. 4-2 TOR.

End of Period

Goal Summary:

BUF: 19:01 - Jason Pominville (12) PPG (Rasmus Ristolainen, Evan Rodrigues)
TOR:  6:22 - Connor Carrick (4) Patrick Marleau, William Nylander). 14:10 - Tyler Bozak (11) PPG (James van Riemsdyk, Mitchell Marner)

Penalty Summary:

BUF: 12:28 - Brendan Guhle (2 min., slashing). 15:12 - Nick Baptiste (2 min., tripping)
TOR: 3:52 - Jake Gardiner (2 min., slashing). 15:21 - Nazem Kadri (2 min., hooking). 16:13 - Mitchell Marner (2 min., hooking). 17:45 - Nazem Kadri (2 min., cross checking)

Shots on Goal:

BUF - 19 (30), TOR - 8 (26)


Third Period:

15:10 - Buffalo did a very nice job of selling out on the penalty kill to keep the score at 4-2 with Johan Larsson in the penalty box. One block that stands out is Scott Wilson's dive the had the puck go off of his shin pads in the slot.

8:31 - Time is bleeding off of the clock, and playing right up into the hands of the Leafs, who are just looking to keep the game as is. The teams went a solid seven minutes without a whistle.

2:50 - Lehner is pulled in favor of the extra attacker.

:43.6 - MAPLE LEAFS GOAL. If there was any doubt, Patrick Marleau ended the suspense with an empty net goal.

End of Game
Toronto 5, Buffalo 2

Goal Summary:

TOR: 19:16 - Patrick Marleau (23) ENG (unassisted)

Penalty Summary:

BUF: 2:44 - Johan Larsson (2 min., delay of game)

Shots on Goal:

BUF - 10 (40), TOR - 13 (39)


BUF: Robin Lehner - 37 saves
TOR: Curtis McElhinney - 37 saves

Power Plays:

BUF: 2 for 5 (40%)
TOR: 1 for 3 (33.3%)

Three Stars:

  1. James van Riemsdyk - TOR
  2. Tyler Bozak - TOR
  3. Patrick Marleau - TOR

What's Next:

The Sabres stay home for a continuation of their six-game homestand. Buffalo welcomes Patrick Kane and the Chicago Blackhawks to town for their only meeting of the season. The St. Patrick's Day puckdrop is at 1 p.m. on the flagship home of the Sabres Radio Network - WGR Sports Radio 550. Pregame coverage with Brian Koziol begins at noon.

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