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game recap

Sabres send Maple Leafs to fourth straight loss

Five Buffalo players have multipoint game in win

by Joe Yerdon / NHL.com Correspondent

BUFFALO -- The Toronto Maple Leafs matched a season-high with their fourth straight loss, 5-3 to the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center on Monday.

Sam Reinhart, Jason Pominville, Ryan O'Reilly and Johan Larsson each had a goal and an assist, Rasmus Ristolainen had two assists, and Chad Johnson made 38 saves to lift the Sabres (21-34-11) to their third win in four games.

"This team can obviously beat anybody and any team can beat anyone, you just have to play the right way," said Johnson, who has won three straight starts, making the save on 93 of 98 shots (.949 save percentage). "Everybody has to buy in. It's not about one player on the team or anything like that. It's about a collective group, the five guys on the ice playing a certain way. It just shows we can beat anyone."

 

[WATCH: All Maple Leafs vs. Sabres highlights]

 

Leo Komarov scored twice, Mitchell Marner had a goal, and Frederik Andersen made 19 saves for the Maple Leafs, who are 0-2-2 in their past four games.

"It looked to me like we had the puck and we were controlling the play, and when they fired at the net, it hit off something and went in our net, and we couldn't keep it out of our net," Toronto coach Mike Babcock said. "Towards the end, we end up chasing the game and they played hard and we didn't get enough done."

The Maple Leafs (39-22-7) are three points behind the Boston Bruins for second place in the Atlantic Division, and Boston has five games in hand.

"We came out aggressive," Maple Leafs center Nazem Kadri said. "I thought we played well off the bat and had an all-around solid road period in the first. … A couple of unlucky breaks and deflections in front, and it costs you the game."

Reinhart gave the Sabres a 1-0 lead at 1:53 of the first period when he deflected a Ristolainen shot on the power play.

Pominville made it 2-0 1:50 later when he tipped a Ristolainen shot off Kadri's skate at 3:43.

Video: TOR@BUF: Pominville tips home Ristolainen's shot

"We did get a couple of bounces tonight, but I thought overall we stuck to what we do when we have success," Pominville said. "We did it [in a 2-1 overtime win at the Tampa Bay Lightning]. We did it [in a 4-1 win against the Boston Bruins]. It kind of slipped away maybe [in a 4-1 loss at the Florida Panthers], but we got right back into it today. We got a start, stuck with it, and found a way."

Komarov scored a power-play goal to make it 2-1 with eight seconds left in the first, putting in the rebound of a William Nylander shot.

Komarov tied it 2-2 at 10:48 of the second period when he scored off a pass from Matt Martin, who played for the first time since Jan. 22 after being a healthy scratch in 18 straight games.

Zemgus Girgensons gave the Sabres a 3-2 lead at 13:30 of the second when a pass from Reinhart intended for defenseman Marco Scandella went in off Girgensons' skate.

O'Reilly made it 4-2 at 15:35 of the second when a pass from Maple Leafs defenseman Ron Hainsey went off the referee's skate to O'Reilly for an open shot.

Larsson made it 5-2 at 9:55 of the third period when he scored on the rebound of a Pominville shot. Babcock challenged for goaltender inference by Larsson, but the goal was upheld after video review.

Marner scored a power-play goal to make it 5-3 with 2:03 left.

Video: TOR@BUF: Martin feeds Komarov for his second goal

 

Goal of the game

Reinhart's goal at 1:53 of the first period.

Video: TOR@BUF: Reinhart tips shot past Andersen for PPG

 
Save of the game

Johnson stopping Zach Hyman at 13:36 of the first period.

Video: TOR@BUF: Johnson stones Hyman after giveaway in front

 
Highlight of the game

O'Reilly's goal at 15:35 of the second period.

Video: TOR@BUF: O'Reilly cashes in after puck hits referee

 
They said it

"I just thought that we skated all right, I thought we had the puck a ton, I didn't think we gave up that much. In the end, though, the puck went in. It's real simple: You've got to outscore the opponent and we've got to find ways to win games. I'm not much into moral victories. I'm more the puck is dropped and you've got to get the job done. We didn't get it done." -- Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock

 

"You want to prepare the same way and these are games you need preparation for because you know they're battling for a [Stanley Cup] Playoff spot. But the biggest thing to me is habits. You don't want to just toss the rest of the games away. It's about creating and keeping those good habits, whether it's practice days or game days, and we did that tonight." -- Sabres forward Jason Pominville on playing spoiler

 
Need to know

It was the first game of the season between Toronto and Buffalo. … It was Komarov's first two-goal game since Feb. 21, 2017. … The Sabres are 19-3-1 in their past 23 home games against the Maple Leafs.

 
What's next

Maple Leafs: Host the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, CBC, SN, CITY, TVAS, ATTSN-PT, NHL.TV)

Sabres: Host the Calgary Flames on Wednesday (7:30 p.m. ET; SN, MSG-B, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Balanced offense leads Sabres past Maple Leafs, 5-3

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