Once again, the Toronto Maple Leafs saw their lead vanish late in the game.
The Maple Leafs came into Buffalo hoping to come back after a loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins in their last game. Jonathan Bernier was in between the pipes for Toronto, while Chad Johnson started for the Buffalo Sabres.
It only took 1:28 for P.A. Parenteau to get the Leafs on the board. His tip in goal was his first of the season and as a Leaf. Usually it is Bernier letting in the early goal, however, Parenteau helped his goalie early in this game.
Bernier was pummeled with shots all game, including 12 from Buffalo in the first. He would stop all of them, while Johnson only let one of the six shots in.
The second period was like the first; fast paced, heavy shots, but little scoring. The Leafs successfully killed off two penalties in the second, but couldn't manage to capitalize on their only power play chance of the game.
Coming into the third period, Toronto was down 24-to-17 in shots but still held onto their one goal lead. Despite being outshot for the third consecutive period, they stayed with it.
Like most Leaf leads, it would vanish late in the third. This time, the game was knotted at one on an Evander Kane snipe, his first of the season. After an exciting but scoreless overtime, the game would head to a shootout.
P.A. Parenteau netted another goal in the shootout, but it wouldn't be enough to maintain the lead.
Tyler Ennis blasted a slapshot past Bernier for the Sabres' first shootout goal, then Matt Moulson patiently deked around Bernier before potting the Sabres' second goal in the extra time. Brad Boyes would miss on the tying attempt and the Leafs, as usual, let a win slip away.
"It took us to almost shot 35 to break them," said Jack Eichel postgame. "And we needed that. Maybe now we'll get on a role, and I think this is a team that can do that."
"We definitely deserved to win that one," Evander Kane said postgame. "We worked hard for it from the start, got down early but kept battling and were able to get the victory."
Maple Leafs goalie Jonathan Bernier was very good tonight (34 saves, 0.971 save percentage), despite the loss, and he credited his coach Mike Babcock for getting on him which led to better play.
"He challenged me behind the doors, too," Bernier said postgame. "That's part of the job. I've got to be better. You've got to take it, you can't take it too personally."
Next up the Leafs face an Original Six rival in the the Montreal Canadiens, in Montreal, on Saturday. However, before the Leafs get ahold of the Canadiens, these same Buffalo Sabres will stay home and face Montreal.