The new era in Sabreland has started out on a positive note tonight with the win over the Toronto Maple Leafs, 3-1. New head coach Ted Nolan has made many remarks over the last few days regarding the work ethic of the Sabres and how they need to be better. Apparently, within the two days under Nolan, they have started receiving the message. They were still out shot, but only by 6 shots and they skated with and at times, outworked the Leafs in one of the best games they have played all season.
The first period, the Sabres were able to out shot the Leafs 10-5 and showed why this rivalry always makes for great games. It was all defensive work for both teams with the shots on goal being low for each side and the goalies not having to do too much work.
The second period saw Toronto out shoot Buffalo 15-9 but Buffalo was able to score two goals to Toronto’s one. Toronto started the scoring, a typical sign for Buffalo opponents this year, 6 minutes into the period. A slapshot from Trevor Smith, only his second of the season, saw Toronto go up 1-0. Buffalo was able to respond 3 minutes later with a power play goal by Steve Ott, his third of the season. With 5 minutes left in the period, Marcus Foligno, coming out of the penalty box, teamed up with Ott to score his third of the season and break the tie.
The third period again saw Toronto out shoot Buffalo 13-8. This period was pretty quiet as well until, with a minute left, Toronto pulled their goaltender to make it 6 on 5. An amazing save by defenseman Christan Ehrhoff saved the game for Buffalo and Ehrhoff was then able to shoot the puck the length of the ice to get an empty net goal and secure the victory for Buffalo.
Buffalo and Toronto will meet again tomorrow evening in Toronto to finish off the home and home series. Will Buffalo be able to win a third straight or will Toronto get revenge at home?