Mikhail Grigorenko put Buffalo in front by beating Bernier 25 seconds into the second period, and Nicolas Deslauriers scored at 9:24 for a two-goal lead. But Phil Kessel's goal 59 seconds later woke up the crowd at Air Canada Centre, and Kessel set up James van Riemsdyk for the game-tying power-play goal midway through the third.
Toronto, which allowed nearly 36 shots per game last season, surrendered 38 to the Sabres, the NHL's worst offensive team in 2013-15. Bernier made 36 saves, including five in overtime. Makarov stopped 27 shots.
Each team lost two players with injuries. Buffalo defenseman Patrick Kaleta was hit in the face by a shot midway through the first period and Johan Larsson ran into the elbow of Petter Granberg late in the period. Neither returned. Toronto lost forward David Booth with what coach Randy Carlyle said after the game was a bruised foot, and defenseman Cody Franson appeared to injure his left leg when Mitchell pushed him into the boards midway through the third period. Franson had to be helped off the ice, and Carlyle had no update on him.