3-Goal Second Period Carries Buffalo Sabres Past Toronto Maple Leafs
For the sixth year in a row the Buffalo Sabres won't be going to the playoffs, but it sure felt like a playoff atmosphere Saturday night at KeyBank Center when the Sabres hosted the Toronto Maple Leafs. And it sounded as if there were as many Leafs fans as Sabres fans in the building with equally loud chants of "Let's Go Buffalo" and "Go Leafs, Go".
All those Leafs fans went home disappointed though as the Sabres put together one of their more complete games of the season with a 5-2 victory. Jack Eichel led the way with a pair of goals and an assist. Dmitri Kulikov and Kyle Okposo both returned to the lineup after injury layoffs to contribute in a big way. Kulikov had a goal and an assist. Okposo assisted on a pair of goals. Ryan O'Reilly and Tyler Ennis both had two point nights.
Once again Robin Lehner was spectacular in goal with 32 saves. One of them looked to be a sure goal by the Leafs Mitch Marner, but somehow Lehner made the save. He even fooled the goal judge who put the goal light on, but the puck never entered the net.
The Sabres special teams were perfect going 2 for 2 on the power play and killing off all three Toronto power plays. It just goes to show the Sabres can play with the best of them when they put their minds to it and play a complete 60 minute game. The Leafs are in the thick of the playoff race, but it was the Sabres who were the better team who appeared to be hungrier and more determined.
The Sabres also improved on their home ice mastery over the Leafs. The Sabres are 18-2-1 in their last 21 games against the Leafs at KeyBank Center.
The Sabres are back on the ice Monday night against the Florida Panthers.