|Date of game: 12/27/2013
Recap: Toronto vs. Buffalo
Toronto, ON (SportsNetwork.com) - Joffrey Lupul scored the lone goal of the shootout, as Toronto rallied from a two-goal deficit and downed Buffalo, 4-3, at Air Canada Centre.
Phil Kessel picked up a goal and one assist for the Maple Leafs, who received scores in regulation from Jake Gardiner and Peter Holland.
Jonathan Bernier stopped 32 shots over the first 65 minutes then turned away all three Buffalo chances in the breakaway competition.
Toronto, which engaged in its fourth consecutive shootout, improved to 2-2 in that run and 6-4 overall this season.
"There are a lot of shootouts taking place. We're at four in a row now. I think we've won two and lost two in the last four. Do we like shootouts? No," said Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle.
Matt Moulson, John Scott and Steve Ott provided offense for the Sabres, while Ryan Miller made 39 saves in the hard-luck loss.
"That was one of the worst periods we've played all year," Moulson said. "Obviously, they took advantage of that."
Buffalo took a 2-0 lead on scores 52 seconds apart by Moulson and Scott prior to the eight-minute mark of the opening period.
The latter tallied after following up a shot from Matt Ellis, which bounced free from Bernier's chest and pumping it home from between the circles at the 7:53 mark.
Toronto evened the score on tallies separated by 4:47, with Gardiner's blast from near the blue line eluding an unscreened Miller at 11:38 putting the hosts on the board and Holland creating a deadlock at 16:25 by converting a Mason Raymond dish from the left circle.
The Leafs then assumed a 3-2 edge with 17 seconds left in the period. Scott was in the box for high sticking only 27 seconds prior, and paid for it when Dion Phaneuf's drive was stopped by Miller, but the rebound slid to James van Riemsdyk, who dished across to a streaking Kessel.
The Leafs went in for the kill against a slow Sabres defense, but missed a half-dozen odd-man rushes in the last half of the third period.
Miller was sent to the bench for an extra skater with just over a minute to play, and Buffalo received a break as Phaneuf was sent off for hooking seconds later for a 6-on-4 edge.
The Sabres tied the game when Ott rushed the crease and lifted a loose puck over Bernier a heartbeat before the net came off its moorings with 24.1 to go.Game Notes
Scott picked up his second NHL goal and first since Nov. 15, 2009 for
Minnesota against Carolina ... Cody Franson added two helpers for the Leafs.