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Fri, Dec 27, 2013 - 7:30 PM ET
Game Recap
 

Maple Leafs edge Sabres 4-3 in shootout

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TORONTO (AP)

The Toronto Maple Leafs are finding their comfort zone in the shootout.

Jonathan Bernier stopped all three Sabres in the tiebreaker to give Toronto a 4-3 win over Buffalo on Friday night.

It was a Toronto-record fourth straight shootout. The Maple Leafs split the four and improved to 6-4 this season.

Toronto is tied with Los Angeles with six shootout victories, behind only Washington's 10. Five of those wins have come at home.

Before this season, Toronto was 29-45 in the shootout.

Matt Moulson, Tyler Ennis and Zemgus Girgensons all failed to beat Bernier.

Ryan Miller stopped Phil Kessel and James van Riemsdyk in the tiebreaker, but Joffrey Lupul beat him on a nifty backhand.

Steve Ott had scored with 25 seconds left in regulation with the Leafs trying to kill off a 6-on-4 skating disadvantage. Ott pounced on a rebound during a scramble and fired the puck in for his fifth goal.

''That hurt,'' Toronto coach Randy Carlyle said.

Jake Gardiner, Peter Holland and Kessel scored second-period goals to put Toronto ahead 3-2.

It appeared that would be enough for the Leafs' second regulation win in 19 games (6-9-4). Toronto was coming off shootout losses to the Rangers and Red Wings.

Toronto fell behind 2-0 in the first period, but dominated the rest of the way. Outshot 15-10 in the opening frame, the Maple Leafs had a 17-5 edge in the second.

''We were like two different hockey clubs,'' Carlyle said. ''The stress level goes up in games like this. We don't dwell on the negative (although) we'll touch base with it. But the positive is we found a way to regroup and get ourselves back on track.

''We have to play 60 minutes like we played the last two periods, as closer to it as we possibly can. It's not easy winning in the NHL.''

Moulson and John Scott also scored for Buffalo.

''I thought we started off real well, but the second period shows you how you can get yourself in trouble when you keep turning the puck over,'' interim Buffalo coach Ted Nolan said. ''We turned it over a number of times.

''If there's any merit to what we deserved, it's what we got. It's one of those things where we played as bad as we could play and still get a point. We got what we deserved.''

Scott, a 6-foot-8, 259-pound tough guy, snapped a 164-game goal drought. But he was in the penalty box when Kessel had the go-ahead tally in the second.

Both teams had chances in overtime with the Leafs dominating the final minutes. Miller made huge saves on Van Riemsdyk and Dion Phaneuf.

Bernier made 32 saves for the Leafs, who outshot Buffalo 42-35 through overtime.

The Sabres had won three of last four and gone 4-4-2 in their previous 10 games. Toronto was 3-5-2 over the same period.

Buffalo has been woeful on the road, going 3-13-1. No other team has fewer than six wins.

The Sabres took a 2-0 lead with goals 52 seconds apart.

Moulson scored the opening goal - something the Sabres have only done eight times this season - after Girgensons, coming out of the corner, fended off Holland.

Girgensons then sent the puck to the crease where it appeared to hit Moulson and then Phaneuf. Moulson got credit for his 13th goal at 7:01.

Bernier then misplayed the puck, and Scott fired it into the gaping net at 7:53. Playing in his 200th NHL game, Scott doubled his career goal total to two. His other goal was in November 2009.

Gardiner beat Miller from the blue line at 11:38 of the second with Van Riemsdyk standing in front of the net. It was Gardiner's second goal of the season.

Holland tied it when a falling Raymond send the puck to his center, who beat Miller for his sixth of the season at 16:25.

Kessel benefited from a nifty pass from Van Riemsdyk and netted his 18th goal at 19:43.

Miller came in with an impressive 31-15-1 career record against the Maple Leafs that featured a 2.44 goals-against average and .922 save percentage. Miller has more wins and shutouts (4) against Toronto than any other team.

Tagged: Sabres, Maple Leafs, Steve Ott, Ryan Miller, Phil Kessel, Matt Moulson, Jonathan Bernier, John Scott, James van Riemsdyk, Peter Holland

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