NHL Game Summary - Buffalo at Toronto
(Wednesday, January 15th)
Final Score: Toronto 4, Buffalo 3 (SO)
Toronto, ON (SportsNetwork.com) - Joffrey Lupul was credited with the game- winner after all three Toronto shooters scored in the shootout to lift the Maple Leafs to a 4-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday at Air Canada Centre.
James van Riemsdyk opened the shootout with a wrister past Ryan Miller, but Matt Moulson answered at the other end to even the score.
Lupul then lifted a shot high over Miller's glove from between the circles and after Buffalo's Cody Hodgson came up empty, Tyler Bozak lit the lamp to send the Leafs to their third straight win.
"If we can continue to find a way to get points, that's what our job is and get ourselves back and climb into a playoff position," Toronto head coach Randy Carlyle said.
Nikolai Kulemin, Morgan Rielly and Phil Kessel each scored once in regulation for the Leafs, who saw James Reimer record 27 saves in the victory.
Hodgson, Moulson and Matt Ellis scored a goal apiece for Buffalo, which has lost two straight and five of its last seven games.
Miller made 36 saves in defeat.
Toronto lead 3-2 after Kulemin and Rielly lit the lamp 3:59 apart near the midpoint of the second period, but Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf took a hooking penalty in the closing seconds of the frame that helped Buffalo find the equalizer early in the third.
Hodgson, who drew the penalty on Phaneuf, picked up a rebound on the low right side and somehow snuck a backhander between the post and Reimer to make it 3-3 just 43 seconds into the third.
Toronto outshot the Sabres 5-1 in overtime thanks in large part to a holding minor against Buffalo's Brayden McNabb at 2:33, but the Leafs were unable to get the puck past Miller, forcing the contest into a shootout.
"Third game in four nights, on the road, being down a goal going into the third period," Sabres interim coach Ted Nolan said. "I thought our third period was our best period."
Kessel opened the scoring 9:21 into the first when he picked up a steal deep in the Buffalo end and slipped a snap shot under Miller from the slot, but Ellis provided the equalizer 3:21 into the second when he one-timed a cross- ice feed from Tyler Myers past Reimer's short-side from the low left circle.
The Sabres had a prime opportunity to grab the lead when Zemgus Girgensons was awarded a penalty shot at 5:48, but Reimer made a left pad save to deny Girgensons' backhand attempt and keep the game tied.
However, Buffalo broke the deadlock just 46 seconds later when Moulson came up with a steal at the red line and skated down the left side before rifling a wrister over Reimer's blocker for a 2-1 edge.
The lead didn't last long though, as Peter Holland forced a turnover deep in the Buffalo zone and fed the disc to Kulemin, who weaved into the slot before sneaking a shot through a screen and past Miller to make it 2-2 at 7:23.
Rielly put Toronto back on top at 11:22 when he buried a one-timer from the low right circle to make it 3-2.
Kessel now has eight points during his current four-game point streak ... Buffalo dropped to 4-14-3 on the road this season ... The Sabres finished 1- for-2 on the power play ... Myers made his return from a three-game suspension.
01/16 00:28:03 ET