There’s no column in the standings for style points. As such, for the Maple Leafs on Wednesday night at the Air Canada Centre, all that mattered was the end result. And it was a 4-3 shootout win against the Buffalo Sabres, a victory that came after James van Riemsdyk, Joffrey Lupul and Tyler Bozak all scored on usual Leafs killer Ryan Miller in the game-ending gimmick. James Reimer allowed a goal to Matt Moulson, but stopped Cody Hodgson. The Leafs, following a four-game losing streak, have won three in a row. It’s the first time since November 2009 the Leafs have won a road game and then a home game on the following night. Phil Kessel, Nikolai Kulemin and Morgan Rielly scored for the Leafs, who won in Boston 24 hours earlier. Reimer, making just his second start since Dec. 21, stopped 27 shots. Reimer had to make some difficult saves, including on a penalty shot on Zemgus Girgensons in the second period and later a kick save on Sabres defenceman Jamie McBain. Matt Ellis, Moulson and Hodgson scored for the Sabres, who lost at home against the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday. Miller made 35 saves for Buffalo. Lupul just missed an open net in overtime, while Reimer made a big pad save on Tyler Myers with seconds remaining. The Leafs had started to take control and had a 3-2 lead when captain Dion Phaneuf, who struggled on Tuesday night against the Bruins, was called for hooking with just four seconds remaining in the second period. Phaneuf, much to his chagrin, didn’t have to serve the full two minutes. That was ensured when Hodgson batted a backhand past Reimer at the 43-second mark of the third period. Certainly, it was a goal that should not have been scored, and was one that was indicative of why Reimer has lost the starting battle to Jonathan Bernier. The clubs engaged in a wild second period that saw four goals and Girgensons’ lack of success on the penalty shot. After Ellis, who once was a solid junior player for the St. Michael’s Majors, tied the game at 3:21 when he managed to get the puck past Reimer on the goalie’s short side, Girgensons was awarded a free attempt.
Maple Leafs edge Sabres in shootout
Toronto Sun | Jan 16