Niagara Gazette

Sports

December 28, 2013

Maple Leafs edge Sabres in shootout

Niagara Gazette — TORONTO — Jonathan Bernier stopped all three Sabres in the shootout to give the Toronto Maple Leafs a 4-3 win over Buffalo on Friday night.

Matt Moulson, Tyler Ennis and Zemgus Girgensons all failed to beat Bernier.

Ryan Miller stopped Phil Kessel and James van Riemsdyk in the tiebreaker, but Joffrey Lupul beat him on a nifty backhand.

Steve Ott had scored with 25 seconds left in regulation with the Leafs trying to kill off a 6-on-4 skating disadvantage. Ott pounced on a rebound during a scramble and fired the puck in for his fifth goal.

Jake Gardiner, Peter Holland and Kessel scored second-period goals to put Toronto ahead 3-2.

It appeared that would be enough for the Leafs’ second regulation win in 19 games (6-9-4). Toronto was coming off shootout losses to the Rangers and Red Wings.

Toronto fell behind 2-0 in the first period, but dominated the rest of the way. Outshot 15-10 in the opening frame, the Maple Leafs had a 17-5 edge in the second.

Moulson and John Scott also scored for Buffalo.

Scott, a 6-foot-8, 259-pound tough guy, snapped a 164-game goal drought. But he was in the penalty box when Kessel had the go-ahead tally in the second.

Both teams had chances in overtime with the Leafs dominating the final minutes. Miller made huge saves on Van Riemsdyk and Dion Phaneuf.

Bernier made 32 saves for the Leafs, who outshot Buffalo 42-35 through overtime.

The Sabres had won three of last four and gone 4-4-2 in their previous 10 games. Toronto was 3-5-2 over the same period.

Buffalo has been woeful on the road, going 3-13-1. No other team has fewer than six wins.

The Sabres’ took a 2-0 lead with goals 52 seconds apart.

Moulson scored the opening goal — something the Sabres have only done eight times this season — after Girgensons, coming out of the corner, fended off Holland.

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