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Auston Matthews’ goal in OT sends Leafs past Sabres

Mar 6, 2024; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly (44) battles for the puck with Buffalo Sabres left wing Jordan Greenway (12) in front of goaltender Ilya Samsonov (35) during the second period at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Auston Matthews, the NHL leader in goals scored, tallied at 4:20 of overtime and the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the visiting Buffalo Sabres 2-1 on Wednesday night.

Matthews scored his 54th goal of the season on a quick shot from the slot after Mitchell Marner set him up with a pass. It was Matthews’ second in his last six games, after he netted 10 in a five-game span.

William Nylander also scored for the Maple Leafs, and Ilya Samsonov made 23 saves.

Victor Olofsson scored for the Sabres, and Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen stopped 25 shots for Buffalo.

The Sabres won the previous two meetings between the teams this season 6-4 and 9-3 in games that contrasted in style from the tight-checking game on Wednesday.

Buffalo had a 10-6 advantage in shots on goal in a scoreless first period. The Sabres did not have a shot on goal until nearly 15 minutes into the period.

Each team scored a goal in the second period.

Nylander scored his 34th goal of the season on a 22-footer from the high slot at 2:29 of the second period. The Sabres had twice failed to clear the puck, and Tyler Bertuzzi got the puck to Nylander.

Olofsson scored his fifth goal of the season at 6:31 of the second on a laser of a shot from the left circle to the top right corner. Zemgus Girgensons earned the assist. Olofsson gathered a loose puck in the neutral zone and skated down the left wing.

The Sabres had a 19-15 edge in shots on goal after two periods.

Toronto had more of the play in the third period and had 10 of the first 11 shots on goal in the period. The Sabres had a good chance in the final minute of regulation.

Samsonov made a big save on Tage Thompson late in overtime.

Defenseman Jake McCabe (illness) did not play for Toronto, and Pontus Holmberg was a healthy scratch.

Also Wednesday, the Sabres traded forward Casey Mittelstadt to the Colorado Avalanche for defenseman Bowen Byram. Erik Johnson (illness) did not play for Buffalo.

–Field Level Media

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