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game recap

Sabres rally for win against Maple Leafs

Buffalo comes back from down two goals twice against Toronto

by Mike Brophy / Correspondent

Reinhart's shootout winner

BUF@TOR: Reinhart goes five-hole for shootout winner

3/7/16: Sam Reinhart sends the puck past a sprawling Garret Sparks in the shootout for the eventual game winner against the Maple Leafs

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TORONTO -- Sam Reinhart set up the tying goal in the third period and scored the only goal in the shootout to give the Buffalo Sabres a 4-3 win over Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre on Monday.

In the shootout, Reinhart cruised in, lifted his stick over the puck causing Toronto goalie Garret Sparks to move forward exposing his five-hole. Reinhart slid the puck under his pads for the winner.

"That was my second career attempt and they both came in our last two games," Reinhart said. "I did the same thing against Minnesota (3-2 loss on Saturday) and I hit the post. I'm comfortable coming in that way."

Buffalo (27-31-9) overcame two two-goal deficits including a 3-1 deficit in the third period.

Video: BUF@TOR: Kane finishes in front to tie game

Reinhart was pleased with the comeback victory, but not pleased with the Sabres overall effort.

"We weren't at our best at the start," Reinhart said. "There's no real excuse for that, but we were able to find a way to win in the end."

Toronto (21-33-11) has lost six in a row. Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said his young players performed well, but a few veterans made costly mistakes. Defenseman Morgan Reilly and center Nazem Kadri muffed plays that resulted in Buffalo goals in the third period.

"This was a game we were in total control of," Babcock said. "I thought we had the puck more, we did more good things and we still found a way to not get the points we wanted. That is disappointing. …We have lots of kids in the lineup, but it wasn't our kids that made mistakes tonight. It was two guys that we count on big-time and in the third period they cost us, not the kids."

Video: BUF@TOR: Eichel's one-timer pulls Sabres within one

Leo Komarov gave the Maple Leafs a 1-0 lead with his team-leading 19th goal of the season 25 seconds into the game. Komarov escaped the coverage of Buffalo defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen and snapped home a perfectly placed backhand pass from rookie right wing Nikita Soshnikov past Sabres goalie Chad Johnson.

Soshnikov was injured at 2:58 when he attempted to check Buffalo's Johan Larsson near center. Soshnikov lost his balance and crashed into the boards hitting his head. He was able to leave the ice under his own power and after undergoing concussion protocol, returned to the bench late in the first period.

Brad Boyes made it 2-0 Maple Leafs with his eighth goal of the season at 11:05. With Buffalo's Brian Gionta off for tripping, Boyes attempted a pass to Brooks Laich standing in front of the Sabres net. The puck bounced off Sabres defenseman Jake McCabe's skate and slid past Johnson.

Video: BUF@TOR: Komarov opens the scoring 25 seconds in

The Sabres made it 2-1 at 16:24 of the second period when defenseman Mark Pysyk directed a shot to the Toronto net that Sparks stopped. Sparks accidentally pushed the puck over the goal line with his trapper. The play was reviewed and it was ruled the puck went entirely over the line. It was Pysyk's first goal of the season.

Less than a minute later, Maple Leafs center Zach Hyman scored his first NHL goal to make it 3-1. Playing in his fifth NHL game, Hyman drove hard to the net with the puck. His first shot was stopped by Johnson, but Hyman stabbed the rebound in.

Jack Eichel pulled the Sabres to within one when he stepped out of the penalty box after serving a roughing minor, skated to the net and slipped a shot past Sparks at 7:28. It was Eichel's 20th goal of the season.

Video: Sabres come from behind to win in shootout

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