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Sabres Fall to Leafs in Overtime, 2-1



Buffalo Sabres Toronto Maple Leafs game recap

It was a game that could’ve gone either way, but the Buffalo Sabres ultimately lost 2-1 in overtime to the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Sabres did a great job keeping Auston Matthews in check for most of the game before the star center eventually scored the game-winner.

It took nearly 15 minutes for the Sabres to record a shot on goal on Wednesday. Then, in the final 5:03 of the first period, Buffalo rattled off nine shots to outshoot the Maple Leafs by the first intermission. Both teams went into the intermission scoreless.

William Nylander opened the scoring 2:29 into the second period as the puck found his stick in the slot. Nylander snapped it by a sprawling Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen to give Toronto the lead. Victor Olofsson answered four minutes later for the Sabres in his first game action since February 15th. Olofsson burst into the zone down the left side and fired a shot that caught Ilya Samsonov out of position.

A scoreless third period sent the game to overtime, marking the seventh game in Buffalo’s last 10 that they’ve earned at least a point. Matthews sealed it on a nice feed from Mitch Marner in the extra time for the Maple Leafs victory.

Impact Players

One of the most noticeable players throughout the game on both sides was former Sabre Ilya Lyubushkin. The Maple Leafs reacquired Lyubushkin from the Anaheim Ducks five days ago, and the big defenseman is already making his presence known.

Besides his usual physical play, Lyubushkin was very tidy in his own end. Toronto only allowed two shots on goal at even strength with him on the ice with almost zero danger to the chances. Meanwhile, per Evolving-Hockey, the Leafs had a 95.67% shot quality share with the Russian defenseman on the ice.

The Sabres had good legs throughout most of the game, with the Eric Robinson, Zemgus Girgensons, and Kyle Okposo line dominating shot share. The reunited Jeff Skinner, Tage Thompson, and Alex Tuch line also pulled their weight, controlling most of the shot quality while on the ice.

The Difference

With about 1:19 remaining in overtime, Tage Thompson had a glorious chance to end it. The puck popped out onto his stick and he shifted to the high slot for a clean shot. He let a wrister go with the usual Tage “oomph” to it, but Samsonov flashed his glove on the save.

Forty seconds later the Maple Leafs’ stars put the game away, making the battle of skill lean in favor of Toronto in this one.

What’s Next

The Sabres are right back at it tomorrow night as they head to Nashville to take on the Predators. Newly acquired Bowen Byram is expected to join the team in Nashville, although his playing status is uncertain as he’s battling an illness. The Predators are hot, losing only once in regulation over their last 10 games.

Must Read: Sabres Trade Casey Mittelstadt; Acquire Bowen Byram