Toronto at Buffalo

    Sabres 3, Maple Leafs 1


    BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Sabres rookie forward Zack Kassian figures it's too early to consider whether he has a chance to make it in the NHL as early as this season.

    As first impressions go, Buffalo's 2009 first-round draft pick didn't look out of place with the impact he made in helping the Sabres open their preseason with a 3-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday.

    The hard-hitting Kassian opened the game by bowling over Toronto's Christian Hanson. And after setting up Tyler Ennis' goal midway through the second period, Kassian forced a turnover that led to Rob Niedermayer scoring 1:47 later to put Buffalo ahead 3-0.

    "It felt great," Kassian said. "Hopefully, I impressed the coaches and hopefully I can get into another one and keep on improving every shift and every game."

    Coach Lindy Ruff liked what he saw.

    "I was pleasantly surprised," Ruff said. "He set a pretty good tone by knocking somebody six-to-eight feet backward and then on the offensive side did a lot of good things with the puck."

    Andrej Sekera also scored, Derek Roy had two assists and Ryan Miller stopped all nine shots he faced in playing a little over 30 minutes.

    Nikolai Kulemin scored late in the second period for the preseason-weary Maple Leafs (2-2-1), who were playing their fifth game in five nights. Toronto was outshot 22-10 after 33 minutes and 44-25 overall.

    The Leafs didn't get their first shot on goal of the second period until the 9:16 mark, when Miller got his glove out to snag former Sabres player Clarke MacArthur's snap shot from the left circle to foil a 2-on-1 break.

    Maple Leafs prospect Nazem Kadri continued to struggle in his bid to make the team. Selected seventh overall in the 2009 draft, Kadri failed to register a point despite 16:34 of ice time in his third game this preseason.

    That's a setback for a player who had three goals and two assists in six preseason games a year ago.

    "I've been getting chances, I've just got to bear down and capitalize," Kadri said. "I think physically and mentally I'm all there. With a little more practice I think I'll be pretty sharp. Given the opportunity, I'll hopefully cash in on it."

    Toronto's power play failed on three consecutive chances in the final 11 minutes, and finished 0 for 4.

    Up 1-0, Ennis scored 9:37 into the second period, converting a 2-on-1 break by backhanding in Kassian's bouncing pass beneath Jonas Gustavsson, who stopped 17 of 19 shots.

    Kassian then set up Niedermayer's goal by charging at Jesse Blacker, forcing the defenseman to cough up the puck. The puck rolled to Niedermayer, who broke in and scored on a 3-on-1 break.

    It's been an up and down year for Kassian. A few weeks after helping the Ontario Hockey League Windsor Spitfires win the Memorial Cup in May, Kassian was charged with assault after allegedly punching a man at a bar in Windsor.

    The Sabres indefinitely suspended contract talks with Kassian because of the assault. The team remains open to eventually signing Kassian so long as he learns from what happened.

    Kassian has expressed regret about the fight. As for making the Sabres, he doesn't want to look too far ahead.

    "You're going to drive yourself crazy lying in bed if you're thinking, 'I need to make the team,"' Kassian said. "I just take it a day at a time."


    Jhonas Enroth took over for Miller and stopped 15 shots. ... Jussi Rynnas replaced Gustavsson and made 24 saves after allowing Niedermayer's goal on the first shot he faced. ... The Northeast Division rivals meet again at Toronto on Monday as Buffalo enters a busy week in which it will play five games in seven nights.

    Copyright 2018 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.
    Buffalo «1203

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    Scoring Summary
    1st Period
    9:17Andrej Sekera - Assists: Derek Roy and Drew Stafford
    2nd Period
    9:47Tyler Ennis - Assists: Zack Kassian and Derek Roy
    11:34Rob Niedermayer
    18:23Nikolai Kulemin - Assist: Mikhail Grabovski
    Penalty Summary
    1st Period
    6:51too many men - minor
    11:46Nazem Kadri: tripping - minor
    2nd Period
    12:57Christian Hanson: slashing - minor
    3rd Period
    6:23Christian Hanson: tripping - minor
    8:57Thomas Vanek: roughing - minor
    11:05Paul Gaustad: delay-of-game - minor
    15:52Luke Adam: boarding - minor
    Shots on Goal
    Jonas Gustavsson30:17172
    Jussi Rynnas28:21241
    Jhonas Enroth29:43151
    Ryan Miller30:1790
    Game Information
    Attendance - 16900
    Referees - Stephen Walkom, Dean Morton
    Linesmen - Steve Barton, David Brisebois
    Other Games
    Mon 2 Final
    Ott 6
    NYR 5 Final
    NJ 4
    StL 2 Final
    Dal 5
    SJ 1 Final
    Pho 2
    Pho 1 Final
    SJ 3
    Phi 3 Final
    Min 2
    Car 1 Final
    Atl 0
    TB 4 Final
    Cal 5
    Fla 3 Final
    Bos 2
    Wash 2 Final
    Nash 1
    Ana 1 Final
    Van 4
    Det 2 Final
    Chi 4
    Colu 1 Final
    Pitt 3