A home-and-home set against the eliminated Toronto Maple Leafs was supposed to be a good opportunity for Buffalo. However, the Leafs played spoiler on Saturday night, defeating the Sabres 4-3.
Just like Friday night against Pittsburgh, the Sabres never led. Toronto scored first, and Buffalo were never able to get back on top.
Combined with a Washington victory, the Sabres’ playoff hopes are all but done. Now trailing the Capitals by two points (and losing the tiebreaker), the Sabres need to win out and hope the Capitals lose three of its final six points.
Toronto goaltender Ben Scrivens stopped 28 of 31 shots and earned the victory. At the other end, Ryan Miller allowed four goals on 29 shots.
The Leafs got on the board first, as Joey Crabb beat Ryan Miller on a breakaway for a shorthanded goal.
Tyler Ennis got the Sabres on the board about halfway through the second period, scoring his 14th goal of the season.
A few minutes later, Phil Kessel’s power play goal put Toronto back on top by a goal.
With time winding town in the second period, the Leafs put one last rush together. John-Michael Liles knocked the puck in as time expired, and the teams went into the intermission with Toronto on top 3-1.
The Sabres dug themselves a hole that they were unable to climb out of. Ville Leino brought the Sabres back within a goal, but after another odd-man rush, Toronto went back up by a pair.
Drew Stafford scored with just under three minutes remaining to make the score 4-3, but his goal was the last one of the game, for either team.
The Sabres had a chance late to tie it, but couldn’t connect and left Toronto with no points.
The Sabres will head home and will take on Toronto again on Tuesday, in Buffalo. That game is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.