Lucas Viveiros | Report
Thanks to Auston Matthews’ game winning goal with 2.7 seconds left in overtime, the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Buffalo Sabres 4-3 in exciting fashion on Tuesday evening.
KeyBank Center was rocking from puck drop, with the crowd relatively split 50/50 between the Leafs and Sabres faithful. Chants of “Let’s go Buffalo” and “Go Leafs Go” echoed throughout the evening, with the fans battling it out to inspire their teams to victory.
The first period saw some chances for both clubs, but ultimately no results, as both teams went to the locker room goalless after 20 minutes of play.
Toronto would find the breakthrough midway through the second however, as Auston Matthews would make an unbelievable play by jumping and catching the puck behind the Sabres goal, and finishing on a tight wraparound to make it 1-0 Maple Leafs.
Matthews never lost sight of the puck, and added to his torrent goal pace with his 14th goal in 14 games.
Buffalo would find their response with six minutes to play in the second, when Nathan Beaulieu floated one on goal and got the tip from Sabres forward Sam Reinhart to knought the game at one.
The tie wouldn’t last long though, as the Buds were able to restore their lead before the end of the second, when the Sabres were caught puck watching Mitch Marner. On the play, John Tavares would be open to receive a pass and blindly drop it in front for the on rushing Gardiner, who scored his second of the season to make it 2-1 Toronto with just under 10 seconds to play in the period.
Buffalo’s own American superstar would wake up in the third, as Jack Eichel would tie the game just 2:39 into the period, when Ristolainen would spot him wide open in his wheelhouse, leaving Andersen with no chance on the goal.
John Tavares would attempt to respond halfway through the third, as he was sent all alone on a breakaway but couldn’t get it by the glove hand of Sabres goaltender Linus Ullmark, who made a brilliant stop.
The save would spark the Sabres, and Jack Eichel would register another marker, this time with just north of seven minutes to play in regulation. On the goal, poor defensive zone coverage would give Eichel way more time and space than he typically needs, and he would roof the puck over the glove of Frederik Andersen to put Buffalo ahead 3-2.
Toronto would begin to push the pace of play back in their favour, and it would pay off under two minutes after the Eichel go ahead goal.
With just more than five minutes to play, Patrick Marleau would register the game tying goal, banking the puck off of Ullmark and in, forcing overtime.
The overtime period would be mainly controlled by the Sabres, as they dominated puck possession, but there weren’t an overwhelming amount of chances for either squad in the extra period.
But as superstars typically do, Auston Matthews would shine in the big moment, rushing up the ice with winger Kasperi Kapanen with under 10 seconds to play in overtime and eventually rifling a bullet bar down and in to get the Leafs the two points with only 2.7 seconds left on the game clock.
Matthews’ 15th of the season would be the last laugh in the hockey game, and make the final score 4-3 Toronto.
Revisit the game’s highlights below.
Next, Toronto will head home to host Dylan Larkin and the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday night.
Puck drop is set for 7:00pm from Scotiabank Arena, and can be seen on Sportsnet.
More news from the ice
- The NHL awarded Seattle as the 32nd NHL franchise on Tuesday, with the team set to join the league officially in time for the 2021-2022 season
- With the victory the Maple Leafs matched a franchise record for fewest games to reach 20 wins (28)
- Auston Matthews is the first player to score 15 goals in his first 14 games of a season since Simon Gagne accomplished the feat in the 2005-2006 season
- With the overtime winner, Auston Matthews becomes the seventh player in Maple Leafs history with five career overtime goals
- Toronto is now 4-0-0 in overtime this season
- Jack Eichel recorded his eighth career multi-goal game, with three of those now registered against the Maple Leafs
Out of town scoreboard
Tuesday, December 4
Boston 0 Florida 5
Winnipeg 3 NY Islanders 1
Colorado 3 Pittsburgh 6
Calgary 9 Columbus 6
Ottawa 2 Montreal 5
Tampa Bay 6 Detroit 5 (SO)
Minnesota 3 Vancouver 2
Washington 3 Vegas 5
Arizona 2 Los Angeles 1
More coverage to follow. Image from Maple Leafs hot stove.