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game recap

Tavares' OT goal lifts Maple Leafs past Sabres

Wins it at 1:45 for Toronto, which is 4-1-0 in past five; Hutton makes 41 saves for Buffalo

by Dave McCarthy / NHL.com Independent Correspondent

Tavares' game-winning goal

BUF@TOR: Tavares wires home wrister for OT winner

John Tavares wires home a wrist shot off a drop pass from Kasperi Kapanen to lift the Maple Leafs to a 2-1 overtime win

  • 00:48 •

TORONTO -- John Tavares scored 1:45 into overtime to give the Toronto Maple Leafs a 2-1 win against the Buffalo Sabres at Scotiabank Arena on Saturday.

Tavares took a drop pass from Kasperi Kapanen and scored from the high slot when his shot went in off the glove of Carter Hutton.

"I was toward the end of my shift, so I wanted to be sure with it and had some room to get some good wood on it and was able to kind of time it right," Tavares said. "I'm happy I was able to pick the corner there."

 

[WATCH: All Sabres vs. Maple Leafs highlights]

 

William Nylander scored, and Frederik Andersen made 29 saves for the Maple Leafs (13-11-4), who are 4-1-0 in their past five games.

"I thought we were inconsistent. We had some really good moments. The start of the second and third were really good for us, but not where we want to be and what we think we're capable of," Toronto coach Sheldon Keefe said. "We have to give some credit to Buffalo, they did a really good job in both games against us (6-4 loss on Friday), making it harder on us. That's the next phase for us is to find a way to play the way we want to and are capable of when the other team has a good plan and is making it difficult on us."

Video: BUF@TOR: Nylander lifts backhander into twine for PPG

Hutton made 41 saves for the Sabres (12-10-5), who are 2-4-2 in their past eight games.

"It was a strong game from his side. I thought both goalies played very, very well," Sabres coach Ralph Krueger said. "We needed to take more opportunities on the chances we had. I thought even though shot clock doesn't show it, I thought we dominated in the chances here today 5-on-5 and took too long to get that first one."

Nylander gave Toronto a 1-0 lead at 5:30 of the second period when he took a pass from Auston Matthews, skated toward the net and scored with a backhand over Hutton's blocker on the power play.

"I was a little lucky, I think it hit his stick and deflected into his arm and up, but it was nice to get one on the power play for sure," Nylander said. "I think they thought I was going to pass it backdoor, so I had some room there to go to the net."

Video: Tavares nets the EA Sports OT Game Winner

Tavares had the secondary assist on the play, his 400th in the NHL.

"I've played with some pretty good shooters. It's not always pretty but I just try to play my game and be effective whether it's putting the puck in the net or setting up teammates," Tavares said. "I didn't know it was right around the corner so it's always nice to get it, especially in a win."

Rasmus Ristolainen tied it 1-1 at 6:58 of the third period when he carried the puck down the right wing, cut to the crease and tucked a backhand inside the left post.

Video: BUF@TOR: Ristolainen slips backhand past Andersen

Sabres defenseman Marco Scandella swept the puck off the goal line after Matthews' shot trickled past Hutton with 12 seconds remaining in regulation.

"I think we played a pretty good three periods and maybe we should have earned the win, but that didn't happen," Ristolainen said. "It's a little frustrating but we got a huge point on the road."

 

They said it

"I'm really proud of the guys. This performance on the workload we've had, they sure showed up and played well. First period was outstanding, we let up a little bit in the second. We really deserved more than a point here when I look at the third period, so really proud of the effort of the guys just digging it really deep and extremely disappointed with the final result." -- Sabres coach Ralph Krueger on Buffalo playing its fifth game in seven nights

"Obviously he's scored the past three games and he's a really key part to our team. He plays a lot of difficult minutes out there and when he's hot, it kind of gets everybody going." -- Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews on John Tavares

 

Need to know

Sabres captain Jack Eichel had an assist to extend his point streak to nine games (eight goals, eight assists). … Sabres forwards Jimmy Vesey (four games) and Victor Olofsson (six games) each had their point streak end. … Tavares has four goals in a three-game streak.

 

What's next

Sabres: Host the New Jersey Devils on Monday (7 p.m. ET; SN, MSG-B, MSG+, NHL.TV)

Maple Leafs: At the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; ESPN+, TVAS, NBCSP, TSN4, NHL.TV)

Video: Tavares, Maple Leafs down Sabres in OT, 2-1

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