Mikhail Grigorenko’s first NHL goal helped get the Buffalo Sabres to overtime, but a last second overtime goal by Toronto Maple Leafs forward Matt Frattin spoiled the party and dealt the Sabres another loss on Tuesday, Jan. 29.
Jay McClement opened the scoring midway through the first period, giving the Maples Leafs a 1-0 lead. The goal came after Leafs forward Nazim Kadri wristed a shot off the crossbar, which ricocheted to McClement, who tapped it past Ryan Miller.
A little over five minutes later, Jason Pominville tied the game for the Sabres on the power play with his fourth goal of the season. Sabres forward Marcus Foligno threw a shot on goal that Leafs goalie James Reimer stopped, but kicked it back out into the slot to Pominville, who after quick hesitation fired a shot over Reimer’s shoulder.
Early in the second period the Sabres took the lead on a goal by defenseman Andrej Sekera. Sekera jumped up on the play and made a bee-line to the front of the net where he was met with a nice pass from Drew Stafford from along the half-wall. Sekera then took the puck on his backhand and lifted it over Reimer to make it 2-1 Sabres.
The lead didn’t last very long, as Matt Frattin tied the score back up for the Maple Leafs with a goal just over a minute later. Defenseman Cody Franson took a shot from the right face-off circle which Ryan Miller stopped, but a rebound was left for Frattin, who tapped it into an open net behind Miller and knotted the score at two.
Not even three minutes later, the Maple Leafs jumped back in front on a goal by Cody Franson. With Leafs forward Tyler Bozak screening Ryan Miller, Franson wristed a shot from the point that evaded Miller and gave the Leafs a 3-2 lead with 13:39 remaining in the second period.
The Sabres finally tied the score at 3-3 7:10 into the third period with Sabres rookie Mikhail Grigorenko’s first career NHL goal. Sabres defenseman Mike Weber took a shot from the point that bounced back to the middle of the ice where Grigorenko, with his back to the net, threw a backhand on goal that went through Reimer’s legs into the net.
With the remainder of the third period elapsing without a winner, the game headed to overtime.
When it looked like overtime would also elapse without a winner, Leafs forward Matt Frattin took the puck along the left wing in the dying seconds, drove to the net around Sabres defenseman Jordan Leopold and lifted the puck over Ryan Miller’s right shoulder on the short side with 1.5 seconds remaining in the overtime period. The goal, Frattin’s second of the game, gave the Maple Leafs a 4-3 victory over the Sabres.
Maple Leafs goal James Reimer stopped 29 shots out of the 32 shots the Sabres threw at him, while Ryan Miller made 20 saves for the Sabres in the loss.
Sabres forward Patrick Kaleta left the game late in the first period after getting hit into the glass from behind by Maple Leafs forward Mike Brown. Sabres defenseman Mike Weber took offense to the hit and skated halfway across the ice towards Brown and confronted him into a fight. Brown received a 2 minute penalty for boarding and five minutes for fighting, while Weber received five for fighting, two minutes for instigating the fight, and a 10-minute misconduct. Kaleta did not return to the game, and Sabres coach Lindy Ruff stated the he had suffered a neck injury.
With the loss, the Sabres fall to 2-3-1 on the season after the first six games. They return to action on Thursday, Jan. 31 in Boston against the Bruins.