NHL Game Summary - Toronto at Buffalo
(Monday, October 15th)
Final Score: Buffalo 5, Toronto 4 (OT)
Buffalo, NY (Sports Network) - Ales Kotalik's power play goal with 3.7 seconds remaining in overtime lifted the Buffalo Sabres past the Toronto Maple Leafs, 5-4, in a wild affair at HSBC Arena.
With Pavel Kubina off for hooking late in the extra session, Kotalik's slap shot from the left circle was stopped by Toronto netminder Andrew Raycroft, but Leafs defenseman Bryan McCabe engaged in a battle for the loose puck and appeared to accidentally knock it into his own net to give the Sabres the victory.
"I was just trying to put the puck on net," said Kotalik. "That's what I got to do in those situations, somehow find the way to the net. I think McCabe wanted to clear it, unfortunately for him he put it in his own net."
The game-winning tally came after both teams combined for six goals in the final 11:11 of regulation.
Jason Pominville and Jochen Hecht had a goal and an assist each, while Adam Mair and Thomas Vanek also tallied for the Sabres, who have ripped off three straight home wins.
Jocelyn Thibault made his first start in goal for the Sabres and finished with 21 saves. Thibault signed with Buffalo as a free agent this summer after two seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Chad Kilger scored twice and added a helper for the Leafs, while Nik Antropov had a goal and one assist. Simon Gamache had the other score and John Pohl chipped in with a career-high three assists.
Raycroft finished with 37 saves for Toronto, which has dropped three of its last four games.
"We just don't have a whole lot of confidence in our defensive game and it showed," said Leafs coach Paul Maurice. "We sat back and stopped making plays, which is the kiss of death, especially against a team that is going to wind it up like that."
Things completely opened up after Buffalo showed some life and cut it to 2-1 in the third as Derek Roy directed a quick pass to Mair, who was camped just in front of Raycroft and easily tapped the puck past the netminder at 8:12.
Then, just 37 seconds later, Pominville rammed home the puck on a play nearly identical to the last. The feed this time came from Tim Connolly, who was stationed just below the right circle and hit Pominville on the blade of his stick. The right winger finished things off by wristing the shot just under the stick of Raycroft to tie the game at 2-2.
Kilger put the Leafs back on top when he redirected a pass from the right corner past Thibault at 10:11, before Vanek helped the Sabres tie it at 3-3 when he scored on a wrist shot at 13:02.
The furious pace continued, and it was once again Kilger who knocked the puck past a diving Thibault at 13:37, before Buffalo got the tying goal from Hecht with 3:33 remaining in the contest.
Toronto scored the only goal of the first period, as Gamache ripped a one- timer from Pohl through the five-hole while sliding to his knees just off the right side of the crease.
The Maple Leafs then jumped to a 2-0 advantage with 5:56 remaining in the second, as Antropov was credited with a goal originally waived off, then reviewed, before referee Kelly Sutherland indicated it would count.
The controversial tally came after a scrum in front of the net, as Kilger knocked the puck off the right side before it got chipped back in front. Antropov quickly knocked it over a sprawling Thibault, but the light didn't come on above the goal because officials weren't sure if a whistle had blown before Antropov made contact with the puck.
Playing in 22 games last season as a back-up goaltender to Marc-Andre Fleury, Thibault finished with a 2.83 goals-against average and a 7-8-2 record for the Penguins...Sabres defenseman Jaroslav Spacek left the game with 2:31 left in the third period after taking a hard check against the boards by Antropov...Antropov has three goals and three assists in his last three games, as does Roy for the Sabres...Buffalo went 5-3 against the Maple Leafs last year and has taken eight of the last 11 meetings overall. Also, Toronto has fallen in seven of its last nine trips to HSBC Arena.
10/16 01:26:36 ET