TORONTO (AP)Rasmus Dahlin and Rasmus Asplund each had a goal and an assist, helping the Buffalo Sabres beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-2 on Tuesday night.
Tage Thompson, Kyle Okposo and Jeff Skinner also scored for Buffalo (27-37-11). Alex Tuch and Victor Olofsson added two assists apiece.
Craig Anderson made 23 saves as the Sabres won the season series 3-1-0 and became the only team to defeat the Leafs three times in 2021-22.
Timothy Liljegren and Alexander Kerfoot scored for Toronto (47-20-6). Morgan Rielly had two assists to give him a career-high 53 on the year. Erik Kallgren stopped 23 shots.
”You wish that you didn’t have nights like this,” Toronto coach Sheldon Keefe said. ”Reality is lots of teams have nights like this, which is why not a lot of teams have 100 points like we do.
”We’ve done a lot of good things this season.”
Sabres defenseman Owen Power – the No. 1 pick at the 2021 draft – made his NHL debut after signing an entry-level contract last week. The 6-foot-6 Power spent two seasons at Michigan before turning pro following his school’s defeat in the NCAA’s Frozen Four tournament.
”I was pretty calm, but obviously there were some nerves,” said Power, a native of nearby Mississauga. ”This is something you dream of as a kid.”
Toronto star Auston Matthews lost a 16-game point streak, and Mitch Marner’s run was halted at 13 contests.
The 24-year-old Matthews leads the NHL with 58 goals. He is trying for the league’s first 60-goal campaign since Steven Stamkos in 2011-12, and the first player to reach 65 since Alex Ovechkin in 2007-08.
Buffalo beat Toronto in the teams’ two previous meetings, including a 5-2 victory at the Heritage Classic in Hamilton on March 13 – an encounter that saw Matthews subsequently suspended two games for a cross-check to the neck of Dahlin.
Power’s welcome-to-the-NHL moment came quick – he started for Buffalo against Toronto’s top line featuring Matthews and Marner.
The 19-year-old got through that shift unscathed and then broke up a 2-on-1 later in the period with the teams playing 4 on 4 when Mark Giordano tried to find Matthews off the rush.
”Tremendous job,” Buffalo coach Don Granato said of the 19-year-old. ”I had no doubt he’s rehearsed being in this building and being in this league many times.
”And it looked like it.”
Okposo opened the scoring on a Buffalo power play at 7:25 of the first period when he took a pass from Olofsson and beat Kallgren upstairs for his 19th.
The Leafs made it 1-1 at 2:09 of the second when Liljegren pinched down to bank William Nylander’s end-boards rebound in off Anderson’s pad for his fourth.
Matthews was denied again by Anderson with the blocker moments later – he appeared to have some words with the veteran goaltender once play was whistled down – before Buffalo retook the lead on another man advantage.
Tuch made a nice move in the neutral zone to set up Thompson, who kicked the puck from his skate to his stick and fired past Kallgren for his team-leading 33rd at 9:11.
Robbed by Kallgren’s glove in the first, Skinner scored 4:09 into the third to make it 3-1 off a pass from Tuch.
Dahlin then pushed the lead to 4-1 just 1:34 later. Olofsson sold shot and found a wide-open Dahlin to bury his 10th with Kallgren out of position.
Kerfoot got one back for the Leafs at 8:50 when he delayed in front of Anderson before firing a shot that just dribbled over the line for his 13th.
”We just didn’t play well,” Matthews said. ”From the start it just didn’t seem like we had much energy on the bench, much energy on the ice.”
Sabres: Host the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night.
Maple Leafs: Host the Washington Capitals on Thursday night.
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