[January 16, 2014]TORONTO — Defenseman Morgan Rielly
feels that the Toronto Maple Leafs are moving in the right direction
after they defeated the Buffalo Sabres 4-3 in a shootout Wednesday for
their third consecutive win.
"I think we've turned a corner," said the rookie, who scored his
second goal of the season. "We have almost everybody back healthy,
we're close anyway. The team had a bit of a flu bug going around and
we ended up battling through it. We're on an upswing now."
The Maple Leafs (24-20-5) could not hold a 3-2 lead, allowing
Buffalo center Cody Hodgson to tie the game with a power-play goal
in the first minute of the third period.
The Maple Leafs then held off the Sabres (13-27-6) for the rest of
"The third period was our best period," Sabres coach Ted Nolan said.
"We had territorial advantages. We just couldn't find that fourth
Right winger Phil Kessel and left winger Nikolai Kulemin also scored
for the Maple Leafs in regulation time. Left wingers Matt Ellis and
Matt Moulson added goals for the Sabres in regular time.
Center Tyler Bozak scored the third and decisive goal in a shootout
for the Maple Leafs while the Sabres managed only one shootout goal
in two attempts. The Maple Leafs are 9-4 in shootouts this season.
"We try not to go into the shootouts," defenseman Cody Franson said.
"But we've been very fortunate with our shootouts this year."
"I don't think you can ever get into those situations and feel
comfortable," Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said. "We're fortunate
this year that our record in shootouts is a strong positive for our
hockey club. It's earned us I don't know how many extra points but
it's been a lot of extra points gained by it."
Goaltender James Reimer, who started in the Toronto goal for only
the second time this month, stopped 27 shots in regulation and
overtime. Buffalo goaltender Ryan Miller made 36 saves, although he
allowed all three shooters he faced in the shootout to score.
Left wingers James van Riemsdyk and Joffrey Lupul as well as Bozak,
scored in the shootout to send the Sabres to their second loss in a
row. Moulson scored on the first Sabres attempt in the shootout, but
Reimer stopped Hodgson on their second try.
The Maple Leafs led 3-2 after each team scored twice in the second
period, but Buffalo tied the game at 0:43 of the third on a power
play. Hodgson put in his 10th goal of the season from an extreme
angle at the right side of the net. Toronto defenseman Dion Phaneuf
was off for hooking, a penalty that came near the end of the second
"They got a lucky one on that third goal there," Franson
said. "Early in the year that probably would have put a hole in
our sails. But we're maturing as a group, we stick with it and
battle it out."
"I think for the most part our group played a pretty solid
game," Sabres defenseman Tyler Myers said. "The way we played at
the end that's the way we want to play every game. I like the
fact that we didn't back off at any point and we kept pushing
not matter what the situation was. And that's what we have to
do, we have to try to start the habit of bringing that every
The Sabres started the second-period scoring to tie the game at
1. Ellis scored his second goal of the season at 3:21 with a
shot from the bottom of the left faceoff circle after a
cross-ice pass from Myers.
Buffalo center Zemgus Girgensons was awarded a penalty shot that
Reimer stopped at 5:48.
The Sabres took a 2-1 lead when Moulson scored his 15th goal of
the season on a wrist shot from 30 feet at 6:34 after Franson's
The Maple Leafs tied the game at 2 on Kulemin's sixth goal of
the season at 7:23. Kulemin scored on a wrist shot from the slot
after center Peter Holland followed up a takeaway with an adroit
Rielly pinched in from the right side to score from 12 feet on a
pass from center Nazem Kadri at 11:22 to put the Maple Leafs
"I have to jump up," Rielly said. "If I'm not jumping up I'm not
doing my job so I try to be able to do that., It just happened
to help the team tonight."
The Maple Leafs scored the only goal of the first period. Kessel
snapped in his 22nd goal of the season from the inner edge of
the right faceoff circle at 9:21 after intercepting defenseman
Christian Erhoff's attempt to bank a clearance off the boards.
NOTES: Buffalo D Tyler Myers returned to the lineup for
Wednesday's game after serving a three-game suspension for an
illegal check to the head of New Jersey RW Dainius Zubrus on
Jan. 4. ... Sabres RW Drew Stafford (upper body) returned to the
lineup after missing four games but LW Marcus Foligno
(undisclosed injury) was out and is listed as day to day.. ...
Sabres C Cody McCormick (upper body), D Henrik Tallinder (upper
body) and C Kevin Porter (lower body) remained out of the
lineup. ... Maple Leafs C Dave Bolland (severed ankle tendon),
who skated on Wednesday morning, and C Trevor Smith (hand
fracture) are still out. ... Leafs RW Colton Orr (flu), who
missed Tuesday's 4-3 win at Boston, returned to the lineup.