NHL Game Summary - Buffalo at Toronto
(Monday, April 3rd)
Final Score: Buffalo 3, Toronto 2 (SO)
Toronto, ON (Sports Network) - Maxim Afinogenov had a goal and an assist in regulation and scored the only goal of the shootout as Buffalo clinched a playoff spot with a 3-2 win over Toronto at the Air Canada Centre.
Derek Roy scored the other regulation goal and Ales Kotalik had two assists for the Sabres, who won for just the second time in their last 10 games. Martin Biron stopped 31 of 33 shots and all three shots he faced in the shootout.
"It is a relief to finally be in the playoffs," said Biron. "We needed the win. [The team] played better defensively."
Matt Stajan scored his 12th goal of the season for the Maple Leafs, who saw their three-game winning streak come to an end and fell eight points behind Tampa Bay for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Lightning defeated Florida on Monday, 4-1.
"I thought we worked hard again," said Toronto's Alex Steen. "We couldn't get that third [goal]."
John Pohl scored his second goal of the season as an emergency call-up for Nik Antropov, who came down with the flu. Jean-Sebastien Aubin made 34 saves for Toronto.
Buffalo struck first just 4:01 into the opening period. Kotalik fired a shot from the point that missed the net, but bounced off the back boards right to Roy, who fired past Aubin for his 17th goal of the season.
The Sabres took a two goal lead midway through the second period while on a power play. Afinogenov ripped a slap shot between the circles that beat Aubin glove side, giving Afinogenov his 20th goal of the season.
The Maple Leafs responded just over a minute later, as Mats Sundin fed the puck to Pohl, who fired a one-timer past Biron with 8:03 left in the second period.
Then, with 7:20 remaining in the third period, Jeff O' Neill fed the puck to Steen at the right circle. Biron stopped Steen's initial shot, but Stajan stuffed in the rebound to tie the game at two.
The game remained tied at the end of regulation, and after a scoreless overtime period, Buffalo and Toronto went to a shootout.
On the Sabres' first shot, Afinogenov went from backhand to forehand and fired past a prone Aubin to give Buffalo the one goal advantage. It proved to be enough as Biron denied Sundin, Darcy Tucker and Alexei Ponikarovsky in succession to give Buffalo the victory.
The Sabres went 1-for-5 on the power play, while Toronto squandered six chances...Jochen Hecht returned to the Buffalo lineup after a five game absence, but suffered a knee-to-knee hit from Tucker in the third period and did not return...Toronto will visit the New York Islanders on Wednesday, while the Sabres will travel to Ottawa.
04/04 00:38:20 ET