Sabres 5, Maple Leafs 4 (SO)

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Steve Ott scored in the sixth round of the shootout to give the Buffalo Sabres a 5-4 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs at the First Niagara Center Thursday night.
Ott raced down the ice on his breakaway attempt, beating Toronto goalie James Reimer on a backhand deke.
Clarke MacArthur came up short in the sixth round for the Maple Leafs after Ott's goal and was stopped by Sabres goalie Ryan Miller on a backhand opportunity.
Christian Ehrhoff, Jason Pominville, Marcus Foligno and Tyler Ennis scored in regulation for the Sabres, who improved to 12-15-4. Miller had 30 saves.
Nazem Kadri had three points for the Leafs (two goals, one assist) and Mikhail Grabovski and Tyler Bozak also scored for Toronto (16-12-3). Reimer had 32 saves in a losing effort.
The game quickly got off to a combative start. There were simultaneous fights 2:09 into the first period, with Toronto's Colton Orr squaring off against Patrick Kaleta, and Buffalo's John Scott going up against Frazer McClaren. Orr was tossed from the game for his actions leading up to the fight, receiving a game misconduct and an instigator penalty along with a cross-checking penalty.
Ott and Dion Phaneuf looked to be the next to drop the gloves a few minutes later, but Ott received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for his interaction with Phaneuf -- and the Leafs made the Sabres pay.
Toronto got on the board on the ensuing power play on Bozak's ninth goal of the season. Bozak received a pass from Nikolai Kulemin inside the left circle and fired a wrist shot past Miller at 8:48.
Kadri increased Toronto's lead to two goals just over a minute later on a tip-in in front of the Buffalo net. It was Kadri's 12th goal of the season for the Leafs.
Ott made amends for his earlier penalty by helping the Sabres get on the board before the end of the first period. Ott, skating behind the end line, found a wide-open Ennis in front of the net and Ennis cut Toronto's lead to 2-1 with 1:06 left in the first.
The Maple Leafs got their two-goal lead back 11:08 into the second period. Shortly after another penalty on Ott expired, Grabovski tipped home Jake Gardiner's shot from the point to make it 3-1.
The Sabres erased that lead, however, in a span of 45 seconds later in the period. Foligno's third of the season made it 3-2 at 11:39, and Pominville tied the game at the 12:24 mark after a great feed from Cody Hodgson with a wrist shot high to Reimer's glove side.
Ehrhoff gave the Sabres their first lead of the game 22 seconds into the third period. Buffalo opened up the period on the power play, and Ehrhoff's blast from the point made it 4-3 in Buffalo's favor.
The Leafs tied it at 4-4 6:33 into the third on Kadri's second goal of the night. Kadri tipped Cody Franson's shot from the point past Miller to even things up once again.
NOTES: The Leafs were without forward Joffrey Lupul, who missed the game as part of a two-game suspension. Lupul was suspended earlier on Thursday for his hit to the head of Tampa Bay's Victor Hedman Wednesday night. The forward recently returned after missing much of the season with a broken arm. ... Sabres leading scorer Thomas Vanek missed the game with a lower-body injury. Vanek was hit by a shot from Christian Ehrhoff in Tuesday's win over Montreal. He could return to the ice on Friday. ... Michael Kostka and Ryan Hamilton were scratched by the Maple Leafs. Nathan Gerbe and Andrej Sekera were scratched by the Sabres. ... This was the fourth and final meeting between the two teams this season. Toronto won two of the three previous games prior to Thursday's matchup. ... This was the 188th game all-time between Buffalo and Toronto; heading into Thursday night's game, Buffalo led the series 103-61-23.

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