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Buffalo at Toronto

Leafs beat Sabres, still five points out in playoff chase

CBSSports.com wire reports
  •  

TORONTO -- Even if they don't make the playoffs, the Toronto Maple Leafs can say they've finally started beating the Buffalo Sabres.

Mikhail Grabovski scored in the second period rookie Nazem Kadri added two assists to help the Toronto Maple Leafs pull out a tense 4-3 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday.

Eastern Conference
SeedTeamGPPTSROW
1z-Pittsburgh487233
2y-Montreal486326
3y-Washington485724
4x-Boston486224
5x-Toronto485726
6x-N.Y. Rangers485622
7x-Ottawa485621
8x-N.Y. Islanders485520
Eliminated
9o-Winnipeg485122
10o-Philadelphia484922
11o-New Jersey484817
12o-Buffalo484814
13o-Carolina484218
14o-Tampa Bay484017
15o-Florida483612
Complete Playoff Race >>

The Maple Leafs are still five points behind eighth-place Buffalo, and two behind Carolina, and will likely need to win all five of their remaining games to have any chance.

"We've just got a bunch of young guys in here right now ... and guys aren't really remembering what [the Leafs] did two or three years ago," said forward Darryl Boyce. "We're just worrying about the present and we're just going to keep rolling along."

A loss to the Sabres would have virtually ended their hopes on Tuesday. Toronto has beaten Buffalo three times since the All-Star break.

Before that, Buffalo was 29-9-1 in the series.

"Often you beat yourselves before the game's even started because you don't know if you can beat their goalie or beat their team," rookie goaltender James Reimer said. "When you do get that win, you kind of realize: 'Oh, these guys are beatable.'

"It shouldn't be like that, but I think sometimes it is."

Boyce, Dion Phaneuf and Clarke MacArthur had the other goals for Toronto. MacArthur also added two assists.

Thomas Vanek, Jason Pominville and Rob Niedermayer scored for Buffalo.

It was a tense final period at Air Canada Centre with the Leafs clinging to a one-goal lead. James Reimer took one shot off the mask during a power play and managed to fall on the puck with plenty of traffic in front.

Phaneuf got Toronto off to the kind of start it needed, skating into the Sabres end and beating Ryan Miller with a hard shot at 1:34. The Sabres goaltender was left staring in disbelief at his glove.

"I had a chance to set the tone on my end and didn't do it," Miller said. "It just kind of went from there. ... [The shot] was rising up and I didn't have a step on it. So I just look stupid."

The Leafs extended the lead to 2-0 at 10:46 after Kadri stripped the puck off Shaone Morrisonn in the corner and worked out front to Boyce, who scored his fifth of the season.

It was one of the finest games of Kadri's young NHL career as he also set up the team's third goal after Vanek had put Buffalo on the scoreboard. The rookie skated around Tim Connolly and fed MacArthur to make it 3-1 at 5:06 of the second period.

The Sabres were quick to respond.

Pominville squeezed a shot past Reimer at 6:25 and Niedermayer stripped Carl Gunnarsson of the puck to tie it 3-3 just 30 seconds later.

Leafs coach Ron Wilson called a rare timeout to settle his team down and it seemed to work. Grabovski put Toronto back ahead at 13:35 of the second period by racing to the net and directing a Phil Kessel pass behind Miller for his 29th goal of the season.

"We're going to try and win all of our games and see what happens," Wilson said. "If we don't get in, we don't get in. But we'll have given it our best shot."

Notes

  • Fredrik Sjostrom and Brett Lebda were healthy scratches for Toronto.
  • Phaneuf has four goals in his last eight games.
  • It was the 14th time this season Buffalo scored two goals less than 60 seconds apart.
  • MacArthur hosted 40 athletes from Special Olympics in a private box.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Darryl Boyce (47) scores his fifth goal this season after being set up by Nazem Kadri, who has two assists in the win. (US Presswire)
Darryl Boyce (47) scores his fifth goal this season after being set up by Nazem Kadri, who has two assists in the win. (US Presswire)

Scoreboard
Buffalo (38-29-9)1203
Toronto  (35-32-10) «2204
Three Stars
C. MacArthur
TOR


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 2
N. Kadri
TOR


Goals: 0
Assist(s): 2
T. Vanek
BUF


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 0
Scoring Summary
1ST PERIOD
01:34 - Dion Phaneuf (8), Slap Shot. Assist: MacArthur, Kulemin
18:46 - Darryl Boyce (5), Backhand Shot. Assist: Kadri, Crabb
19:48 - Thomas Vanek (27), Wrist Shot. Assist: Hecht, Stafford
2ND PERIOD
05:06 - Clarke MacArthur (21), Wrist Shot. Assist: Kadri, Gunnarsson
06:25 - Jason Pominville (20), Wrist Shot. Assist: Connolly, Sekera
06:55 - Rob Niedermayer (5), Backhand Shot. Assist: Montador, McCormick
13:35 - Mikhail Grabovski (29), Snap Shot. Assist: Kessel, MacArthur
3RD PERIOD
None
Penalty Summary
1ST PERIOD
None
2ND PERIOD
02:08Weber, 2 min, Delay of Game - Puck Over Glass
02:59Myers, 2 min, Holding
02:59Gaustad, 2 min, Slashing
02:59Phaneuf, 2 min, Slashing
3RD PERIOD
04:31Komisarek, 2 min, Roughing
04:31Gaustad, 2 min, Roughing
05:01Stafford, 2 min, Tripping
08:13Vanek, 2 min, Hooking
11:32Boyce, 2 min, Hooking
17:05Weber, 2 min, Goaltender Interference
17:57Bozak, 2 min, Holding
Shots On Goal
 123T
BUF914831
TOR11101435
Goalies
GoalieMINSSGA
Ryan Miller59:07314
James Reimer60:00283
Game Information
Attendance - 19483
Referees - Stephane Auger, Brad Watson
Linesmen - Greg Devorski, Scott Driscoll
 
Other Games
Chi 0 Final
Bos 3
Fla 2 Final
Colu 3
Car 3 Final
Wash 2
Phi 5 Final
Pitt 2
Atl 1 Final
Mon 3
Ott 2 Final
TB 5
Van 3 Final
Nash 1
Min 3 Final
StL 2
LA 2 Final
Edm 0
Dal 1 Final
Pho 2