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Ehrhoff scores in OT to lift Sabres past Maple Leafs

by Joe Yerdon

BUFFALO -- Christian Ehrhoff scored 38 seconds into overtime to give the Buffalo Sabres a 3-2 victory against the Toronto Maple Leafs at First Niagara Center on Friday.

Ehrhoff's goal came just as a penalty to Toronto's Paul Ranger ended, and the shot from the point beat Maple Leafs goalie James Reimer through the five-hole. It was Ehrhoff's second goal of the season.

"It was definitely nice," Ehrhoff said. "It wasn't a big blast, it just found a little lane there and put it through [Carl] Gunnarsson's legs and Reimer didn't see it."

Ehrhoff was helped out by a screen in front by the newest Sabres forward, Matt D'Agostini. The Sabres claimed D'Agostini off waivers from the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday.

"[Ranger] was coming out of the box behind [Ehrhoff] there," D'Agostini said. "So I just figured he'd try to get it on net. He did a good job just getting it through."

The win ended the Sabres' five-game losing streak.

"It's one of those things where we're trying, we're trying," forward Drew Stafford said. "We're competing. The effort's there. We just haven't been able to have a full 60-minute effort. I thought tonight we had a pretty solid night and also scored some goals. You're not going to win a lot of games 1-0."

The Sabres ended a streak of four straight games in which they scored one goal per game.

Ranger took a holding penalty with 1:32 left in the third period, giving the Sabres a power play at the end of regulation, but it was Toronto's James van Riemsdyk who had the best chance during it. With 20.4 seconds remaining, van Riemsdyk broke in on Sabres goalie Ryan Miller only to be taken out of the play by D'Agostini.

"Usually when you're in all alone and you get your legs taken out from under you, you expect something, especially when the calls have been what they were," van Riemsdyk said. "We can't use officiating as an excuse. We've got to find ways to be better."

Miller said, "Great effort by D'Agostini. He got back hard and forced the ref to make a decision. The ref decided he got the puck, and we haven't changed that rule where if you get a hold of that puck first they're probably not going to get a tripping penalty. Great effort getting back and it helps us get to overtime. I thought it was a nice job."

The Sabres were 1-for-4 on the power play; the Maple Leafs went 0-for-1.

Phil Kessel put the Maple Leafs ahead 1-0 beating Miller on a quick 2-on-1 rush. It developed when Sabres defenseman Tyler Myers was caught out of position. That left Mike Weber alone to defend Kessel and van Riemsdyk. The goal was Kessel's 14th of the season.

"[Kessel] backed me up a little bit too far," Miller said. "I don't like giving up one there. After that, I thought the guys settled in."

Matt Moulson tied the game 1-1 on the power play with his 10th goal of the season at 7:57 of the second period. Moulson put away a loose puck from a shot by Ville Leino in front of the net with Reimer out of position.

Nikolai Kulemin put the Maple Leafs ahead with his second goal of the season at 10:23 of the second period. Trevor Smith set up the play when he floated a pass over the net out in front for Kulemin, who batted the puck midair past Miller to make it 2-1.

"I don't think he was trying to go over the net," Miller said. "I think he's just, 'I need this to go that way' and it just ended up being a little bit of an alley-oop. I had really no idea where it was, I just sensed people were coming towards me. That's the only reason I really turned."

Luke Adam's first goal of the season tied the game 2-2 with 1:10 to play in the second. He scored off a rebound of a Zemgus Girgensons shot that Reimer deflected right to him. Adam was playing in his fourth game of the season since being recalled by the Sabres on Nov. 20.

"It feels good, it's a relief," Adam said of scoring. "I think each and every game I've been playing since I got here I've been building a little bit at a time and getting more and more confident. I think I should've had a couple more tonight, but I won't complain with one."

Miller made 22 saves for the Sabres. Reimer finished with 26.

"That was a great game, I thought we worked really hard for it," Miller said. "It was good to see, having to battle back there in the second period; I thought that was one of our strongest periods of the entire season. I think overall it was one of our best games."

The loss was the third in a row for the Maple Leafs.

"The breaks aren't going our way," Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said. "That's when you've got to find ways to create more."

The Sabres play at the New Jersey Devils on Saturday night. The Maple Leafs head to Bell Centre to face the Montreal Canadiens.

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