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game recap

Brothers combine to lift Sabres past Maple Leafs

Cal O'Reilly scores, with assist to Ryan, in Buffalo victory

by Joe Yerdon / Correspondent

BUFFALO -- It was a special night for Buffalo Sabres forwards Cal O'Reilly and Ryan O'Reilly against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday.

The brothers combined for the Sabres' second goal in a 4-1 win against the Maple Leafs at First Niagara Center.

Cal O'Reilly gave the Sabres a 2-0 lead with a power-play goal with 18.1 seconds left in the first period. With Maple Leafs defenseman Frank Corrado in the penalty box for interference, O'Reilly received a pass from Jack Eichel in the slot and took a shot that beat Maple Leafs goalie Garret Sparks over his right shoulder.

"My brother [Ryan] made a good play there along the wall to make a no-looker to me and then Jack was open on the far side," Cal O'Reilly said. "I looked and then he gave it back to me and opened everything up. I had lots of time to take that and look at the net and shoot."

Video: TOR@BUF: C. O'Reilly snipes power-play goal from slot

With Ryan O'Reilly's secondary assist, it was the first time two brothers combined on a goal as Sabres teammates, and in the NHL.

"It was cool to be on the goal with him," Ryan O'Reilly said. "He's definitely a great player and made some great plays there and he's the reason why we won tonight."

Ryan O'Reilly joined the Sabres when he was traded to by the Colorado Avalanche on June 26. Cal O'Reilly signed with the Sabres as a free agent on July 3.

"You never think growing up playing on the backyard rink against each other and beating each other up, at this level to get an opportunity to play together," Ryan O'Reilly, 25, said. "Just to watch [Cal] have success tonight, it's awesome. I watch him train; I see everything he does and it's nice to see him get rewarded."

Video: TOR@BUF: C. O'Reilly blasts home his second goal

Cal O'Reilly's second goal made it 3-0 at 3:41 of the second period. He shot from the left faceoff circle after a long dump pass from David Legwand.

"Anytime you can contribute; guys are out of the lineup and get an opportunity to be on power play with some of those guys," Cal O'Reilly, 29, said. "Anytime you can help the team win obviously is good."

Johan Larsson's second goal, ninth of the season, came with an empty net with :03 left.

The Sabres (32-35-11) had lost two in a row and won their third straight game at home. The Maple Leafs (28-39-11) have lost three of the past four. Buffalo is 17-1-1 in its past 19 home games against Toronto and has won seven straight against the Maple Leafs here.

"We struggled with Toronto's speed and how they came at us in the last two games [in Toronto], and tonight we dealt with that well and turned it back on them and went back the other way," Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said. "I think the shots for the first 35 minutes were indicative of how the game was played."

Video: TOR@BUF: Laich's goal cuts into lead in the 2nd

Toronto forward Brooks Laich made it 3-1 at 13:32 of the second period with his first goal with the Maple Leafs. Laich received a pass from behind the net by rookie forward Tobias Lindberg and shot the puck past Sabres goalie Chad Johnson on his blocker side.

"Big sense of relief actually for myself," said Laich, who was traded by the Washington Capitals on Feb. 28. "Scoring goals is fun, it always has been. It's been a tough year for myself offensively. Most of my role this year has been defensively, but that was part of the excitement of coming to Toronto, the opportunity to find my offensive game again, my two-way game, and not just be counted on for defensive minutes. To get one, hopefully I start scoring some more points and put together a good streak here to end the season."

Lindberg was making his NHL debut after being recalled from Toronto of the American Hockey League on Thursday.

"Obviously, I liked him a lot," Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said. "He's a big, big body (6-foot-3, 217 pounds), a heavy guy. He can really shoot the puck. He skates straight ahead good. He's got a lot to learn. He's a kid, but he's different than what we have and the size of him. And then his shot reminds me of Johan Franzen (of the Detroit Red Wings). He doesn't have to move his body very much; he can really get it away. I was impressed with him to say the least."

Video: TOR@BUF: Johnson denies Grabner's shorthanded break

Johnson made 25 saves in his seventh consecutive start and won his 20th game of the season (20-16-4); Sparks made 33.

"I know he got his career high a few [games] ago, and to see him get 20 wins, it's something I certainly would have taken at the beginning of this year, Chad Johnson getting 20 for you, and I am happy for him," Bylsma said. "It's a significant marker for him in his career."

Larsson gave the Sabres a 1-0 lead 7:09 into the first period. He received a pass from Brian Gionta and skated up the right wing, where he took a shot from the faceoff circle that beat Sparks up high.

"We had a bad game there (a 4-1 loss in Toronto on March 19), so we wanted to come out good here in our building," Larsson said. "The first 20 [minutes], a lot of pucks to the net and I think we did a real good job of that."

Video: Larsson, C. O'Reilly lead Sabres past Maple Leafs 4-1

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