One of the best rivalries in hockey was in full force at the First Niagara Center as the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Buffalo Sabres 4-3 in OT. Matt Frattin would score the game-winner with less than 2 seconds left in OT.
The unlikely line combination of John Scott, Patrick Kaleta, and Matt Ellis had a few good opportunities early in the 1st period to score but goaltender James Reimer was there to stop them. Toronto would get on the board first as Nazem Kadri took a shot from the point and hit the post. Jay McClement was there for the rebound and made it 1-0. Nikolai Kulemin also assisted on the goal.
Buffalo would then go on the power play. The first power play unit struggled to get the puck into the Toronto zone. Eventually, Jason Pominville picked up a loose puck when there was a big scramble in front of the Toronto goalie; beat him above the shoulder to make it 1-1. Assists to Marcus Foligno and Thomas Vanek.
The Sabres would strike early in the 2nd period. Drew Stafford made a nice soft-pass to Andrej Sekera who was making is way toward the net. Sekera back-handed his shot and the Sabres beat Reimer high again to go up 2-1. Assist to Ehroff.
Little for than a minute later, Cody Franson took a shot and Matt Frattin got the rebound to make it 2-2. Assist to Leo Komarov. The Leafs would strike again in the frame. Phil Kessel took a shot on net and Miller made the initial save but Kessel got the rebound. Kessel passed back to Cody Franson who took a slap shot from the point and beat a screened Miller to make it 3-2. Assist to Tyler Bozak.
Buffalo would tie it up in the 3rd period. Mikhail Grigorenko did a great job keeping the puck in the zone. Marcus Foligno eventually got it and made a pass to Mike Weber who took a shot from the point. Grigorenko got the rebound and beat Reimer back-hand for his first career NHL goal. The crowd was really excited for his first goal and his linemates mobbed him on the ice afterwards. “I felt the pressure was off after the goal” said Grigorenko. The Sabres had some good pressure in the final minute of the game but would end up going to overtime.
It all looked as though the game would go to a shootout. John-Michael Liles made a cross ice pass to Frattin with about 10 seconds left. Frattin skated down the ice into the Sabres zone. He then proceeded to skate right by Jordan Leopold and beat Miller short-side with about one second left. “I gave him too much room” said Miler.
After missing a game with an injury, Vanek had an assist.
Mikhail Grigorenko scored his first career NHL goal, becoming one of the youngest in franchise history to do so.
Patrick Kaleta left the game after receiving a hit from Mike Brown.
Both Mike Weber and T.J Brennan made their season debuts. Wilson looked good in his debut and was winning many battles during the game.
Steve Ott was an impressive 16-19 from the face-off circle.
The Sabres will travel to Boston to take on the Bruins Thursday. Puck drops at 7:00 pm ET.