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Sabres stop Maple Leafs in shootout

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - Steve Ott scored the decisive goal in the sixth round of the shootout, helping the Buffalo Sabres rally for a 5-4 win over the slumping Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night.

Ryan Miller secured the win by getting his left pad out to stop former Sabres forward Clarke MacArthur's shootout attempt. Miller stopped 32 shots through overtime, and allowed only Tyler Bozak to score in the tiebreaker.

Ott set up his successful shootout goal by driving in full speed on James Reimer. Without stopping, Ott slipped the puck inside the right post before the goalie had a chance to get his pad out.

Christian Ehrhoff had a goal and two assists for Buffalo, which won consecutive games for only the fourth time this season. Tyler Ennis had a goal and an assist, and Marcus Foligno and Jason Pominville also scored.

The Sabres improved to 11-1-1 in Toronto's last 13 games in Buffalo.

Nazem Kadri had two goals and an assist for Toronto, which was unable to build on a 4-2 win over Tampa Bay a day earlier. The Maple Leafs are 1-3-3 in their past seven games.

Bozak and Mikhail Grabovski also scored for the Leafs in regulation. Reimer stopped 30 shots through overtime, but allowed two goals in the shootout, including one to Drew Stafford.

Accustomed to blowing two-goal leads, as Buffalo did in a 3-2 overtime win at Montreal on Tuesday, the Sabres showed they could overcome them, too.

Ehrhoff capped a three-goal rally and gave Buffalo a 4-3 lead when he scored a power-play goal 22 seconds into the third period. Ehrhoff got a nice drop pass from Cody Hodgson and blasted a shot past Reimer, who was screened in front by Buffalo's Steve Ott.

The Maple Leafs responded six minutes later. Kadri was battling Buffalo's Jordan Leopold in front when he managed to deflect in Cody Franson's shot from the right circle.

Miller was both sharp and fortunate in preserving the tie in the final minutes of regulation.

With 4:04 left, he kicked out his right pad to stop Phil Kessel's hard, low slapper from the right circle. Some 30 seconds later, James van Riemsdyk snapped a shot from the left circle that beat Miller but banked off the post.

Reimer had to be sharp, too. His best stop came with 7:05 left in the third period. That's when Ville Leino split the Leafs defense and snapped a shot that Reimer got a piece of with his glove to send the puck off the back of the net.

After Grabovski made it 3-1 by tipping in Jake Gardiner's shot 8:52 into the second period, the Sabres responded with two goals in a 45-second span.

Foligno jammed in a loose puck in front at the 11:39 mark, shortly after he failed to get a shot off on a wide-open breakaway. Pominville then tied it by sneaking into the slot, where Hodgson set him up from behind the Toronto net.

The game between Northeast Division and cross-border rivals got off to a chippy start.

Maple Leafs forward Colton Orr was ejected 2:09 in after he broke his stick in two cross-checking Patrick Kaleta off a face-off. That sparked a fight between Orr and Kaleta as well as the teams' two heavyweights, Buffalo's John Scott and Toronto's Frazer McLaren.

Orr was issued minor penalties for cross-checking and instigating, a major for fighting and game misconduct.

NOTES: The Maple Leafs were without LW Joffrey Lupul, who was suspended two games by the NHL earlier in the day for an illegal hit to the head of Tampa Bay defenseman Victor Hedman a day earlier. Lupul accepted the suspension, but questioned the NHL's ruling that he specifically targeted Hedman's head. ... The Sabres were minus leading scorer Thomas Vanek, who is day to day after being struck by a shot in the right hip in a 3-2 OT win at Montreal on Tuesday. ... C Kadri entered the game with a team-leading 30 points (11 goals, 19 assists) in 30 games. At 22, he became the team's youngest player to reach 30 points in 30 games since 22-year-old Ed Olczyk did it in 1988-89.

The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2016
The Associated Press
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