Niagara Gazette

Pro Sports

April 4, 2012

Sabres roar back, down Leafs in overtime

Leopold ties it late, Roy's second secures points tie with Washington

BUFFALO — Nine seconds, an eternity for a goal-mouth scramble, elapsed from Sabres rookie Marcus Foligno’s initial run at the net to Jordan Leopold’s final poke past Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Ben Scrivens on Tuesday inside a roaring First Niagara Center.

In these parts, if the Sabres win the final two regular-season contests, get some help and secure that unlikely playoff berth, the tying goal with 1:53 left in their wild 6-5 overtime triumph could become part of Buffalo hockey lore.

“I guess the big guy upstairs is looking after us,” Leopold joked after the ninth-place Sabres moved into a points tie (88) with the Washington Capitals, who hold the tiebreaker and the final Eastern Conference playoff spot.

Derek Roy’s power-play winner secured an unlikely victory in which the Sabres trailed 3-0 in the first period and 5-3 with barely five minutes left in regulation.

“That’s not how you draw them up, but that was a hell of a way to win,” Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. “That game had everything.”

No kidding.

Roy’s overtime tally, his second score, almost felt like a formality. Leopold’s goal really beat the Leafs.

The 20-year-old Foligno, a star just 13 games into his career, created the goal and wreaked havoc from the get-go, knocking Carl Gunnarsson out of the contest with a wicked hit only 10 seconds in.

“I think he single-handedly helped this team win,” said Ruff, who called it Foligno’s best NHL performance.

After Alexander Sulzer’s second goal made it 5-4 with 5:03 left in regulation, Foligno showcased some of his best attributes in generating the epic scrum.

First, he beat Mike Komisarek to a loose puck, outmuscling and pushing the defenseman down. Then he grabbed the puck and jammed it at Scrivens.

The wild scramble was on.

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