NHL

Maple Leafs beat Sabres for ninth shootout victory

Toronto Maple Leafs Buffalo Sabres
Maple Leafs F Joffrey Lupul burries a shootout goal against Sabres G Ryan Miller.
Share This Story

   
 

TORONTO (AP)

Unlike last year, the Toronto Maple Leafs are proving to be pretty good at the shootout.

POWER RANKINGS

Separating the best from the rest. Where is your team in our power rankings?

The Leafs made it through three periods and overtime for the 13th time this season on Wednesday night and managed to beat the Buffalo Sabres 4-3 for their league-leading ninth shootout victory of the year.

It was the Toronto's third straight win, and three of their past four overall have come via the shootout.

''I think if our team had a choice, we'd try to end the game a bit earlier,'' said defenseman Morgan Rielly, who scored his first home goal this season. ''But I think that's just an aspect of hockey nowadays. It just turns out that we're pretty good at them.''

Only the Washington Capitals have gone to the shootout more times than the Leafs, who have just three regulation victories in their past 28 games, yet are right in the thick of the Eastern Conference race.

''Obviously, we're fortunate this year that our record in the shootout is a real, strong positive for our hockey club,'' coach Randy Carlyle said. ''There's been a lot of extra points gained by it.''

Toronto went 0 for 5 in shootouts during last year's lockout-shortened 48-game season.

Against the Sabres on Wednesday night, James van Riemsdyk, Joffrey Lupul and Tyler Bozak all scored and goaltender James Reimer stopped one of two attempts.

Those shooters have experienced a lot of shootout success, so assistant coach Greg Cronin - who fills out the lineup - keeps going back to them. Lupul is six for seven, van Riemsdyk is six for nine and Bozak is three for five in shootout attempts.

''Think we're confident in the guys that we can send out there to score goals and confident in our goalie,'' van Riemsdyk said. ''We seem to have guys that are confident going in with their moves and the goaltenders are confident in the net. It makes it a good matchup in the shootout.''

The Sabres dropped to 6-3 in shootouts, but were thankful to get there thanks to Cody Hodgson's power-play goal early in the third period and a strong penalty kill in overtime that included a good scoring chance for defenseman Tyler Myers.

''That was huge,'' Buffalo coach Ted Nolan said of the penalty kill. ''I thought Tyler Myers, his first game back was probably one of his best games all season long. He played with a little pizazz. He played with some energy, and he was very aggressive.''

Goaltender Ryan Miller, who could again be the U.S. starter at the Sochi Olympics after leading the Americans to silver in Vancouver, was strong before the shootout in making 36 saves in regulation and overtime. He gave up goals to Olympic teammate Phil Kessel, Nikolai Kulemin and Rielly.

Kessel's was a pure goal-scorer's goal, a perfect shot that went five-hole on Miller.

''He made a nice shot,'' Miller said. ''I didn't see. Good for Phil. Get him going for the Olympics, I guess.''

NHL STANDINGS

How is your team doing in the realigned NHL? Check out all the divisional races.

In addition to Hodgson, Matt Ellis and Matt Moulson also scored for the Sabres. Moulson's goal at 6:34 of the second wasn't reviewed, though it took several replay angles to show it clearly went in the net.

Just before that, Buffalo's Zemgus Girgensons had a quality chance on a second-period penalty shot, which Reimer stopped in what turned out to be practice for the shootout.

Not that Reimer needed it, as he improved to 4-0 in the shootout this season.

''Personally I'm not a huge fan of shootouts,'' Reimer said. ''It's something I try to practice most days as much as I can. Shootouts are important points, and they're huge come the end of the year. Obviously regulation wins are most important, but those points are priceless.''

While the Leafs have taken what they've earned in shootouts, Miller and the Sabres were left to wonder about a point lost.

''Unfortunately, I wasn't very good in the shootout,'' Miller said. ''That's the difference.''

Being so good in the shootout has made a major difference in the Leafs' fortunes this season.

''When you win them it's a positive, when you lose them it's a negative,'' Carlyle said. ''That's the bottom line. That's what you play the game to gain points and to win, and a shootout gives you a win.''

NOTES: Enforcer Colton Orr returned to Toronto's lineup after missing Tuesday's game in Boston with the flu, which has affected several players. Frazer McLaren was scratched to make room for Orr. ... Sabres forward Matt D'Agostini left the game early in the first period with an upper-body injury and did not return. D'Agostini skated just three shifts for 2:19, and Nolan said he expects him to be out for ''a little while.'' ... This was the fifth and final meeting between the Leafs and Sabres this season.

Tagged: Ryan Miller, Matt D'Agostini, Phil Kessel, Matt Ellis, Cody Hodgson, Sabres, Maple Leafs, Matt Moulson, James van Riemsdyk, Tyler Bozak, James Reimer

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by



Play Hockey Simulation Game on WhatIfSports

NHL Videos

Toews, Kane: Easy decision to resign with Blackhawks Posted: Jul 17, 2014
Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane say their decision to sign matching 8-year, $84M...

LA mayor 'F-bombs' Kings rally Posted: Jun 17, 2014
Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti toasts the Stanley Cup champion Kings in front o...

Kings, fans celebrate Stanley Cup Posted: Jun 16, 2014
Kings players celebrate winning the Stanley Cup with a parade through downtown L...

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Reebok Sidney Crosby Pittsburgh Penguins Premier Hockey Jersey - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Pittsburgh_Penguins/browse/featuredproduct/175178/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_175000/FF_175178_xl.jpg&w=100 159.95 Reebok Sidney Crosby Pittsburgh Penguins Premier Hockey Jersey - Black
    Reebok Dallas Stars White Premier Hockey Jersey http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Dallas_Stars/browse/featuredproduct/243363/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_243000/FF_243363_xl.jpg&w=100 124.95 Reebok Dallas Stars White Premier Hockey Jersey
    Reebok Tampa Bay Lightning Primary Logo T-Shirt - Royal Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Tampa_Bay_Lightning/browse/featuredproduct/301017/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_301000/ff_301017_xl.jpg&w=100 19.95 Reebok Tampa Bay Lightning Primary Logo T-Shirt - Royal Blue
    Majestic Anaheim Ducks Black Official Logo Full Zip Hoodie Sweatshirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Anaheim_Ducks/browse/featuredproduct/398322/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_398000/FF_398322_xl.jpg&w=100 43.99 Majestic Anaheim Ducks Black Official Logo Full Zip Hoodie Sweatshirt
    Detroit Red Wings Youth Black Southpaw Backpack http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Detroit_Red_Wings/browse/featuredproduct/403205/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_403000/FF_403205_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Detroit Red Wings Youth Black Southpaw Backpack
    Reebok Chicago Blackhawks #88 Patrick Kane Red Premier Hockey Jersey http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Chicago_Blackhawks/browse/featuredproduct/408123/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_408000/FF_408123_xl.jpg&w=100 159.95 Reebok Chicago Blackhawks #88 Patrick Kane Red Premier Hockey Jersey
    Majestic New Jersey Devils Red Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_Jersey_Devils/browse/featuredproduct/456774/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_456000/ff_456774_xl.jpg&w=100 47.99 Majestic New Jersey Devils Red Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt
    Vancouver Canucks 2011 NHL Western Conference Champions Hockey Stick http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Vancouver_Canucks/browse/featuredproduct/665779/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_665000/ff_665779_xl.jpg&w=100 11.95 Vancouver Canucks 2011 NHL Western Conference Champions Hockey Stick
    Majestic New York Islanders Royal Blue Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_York_Islanders/browse/featuredproduct/752594/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_752000/ff_752594_xl.jpg&w=100 47.99 Majestic New York Islanders Royal Blue Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt