Sabres-Maple Leafs: Buffalo Downs Toronto in Shootout

Thayne HallyburtonCorrespondent IApril 1, 2008

Johnny Pohl?

How can you let Johnny Pohl shoot in the shootout?

Paul Maurice blew the game for the home side tonight in front of 18,000 strong at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.

The game was tied 3-3 and the game and season was on the line for the Buffalo Sabres, who had to win Tuesday night to dodge elimination from the 2008 Stanley Cup playoffs.

Maxim Afinogenov had the game on his stick and delivered, when he deked the Toronto Maple Leaf goaltender, Andrew Raycroft, out and slid the puck home on his forehand.

This great play by Afinogenov was preceded by perhaps the worst coaching call I have seen Paul Maurice make in his tenure with the Maple Leafs. Maurice elected to send out call up and defensive specialist, Johnny Pohl to take a penalty shot for Toronto.

Needless to say, Pohl missed, allowing Afinogenov the opportunity to win the game.

The game was dominated by the Buffalo Sabres as they out-shot the home side 41-22. Andrew Raycroft was the reason the score was as close as it was, as he made great save after great save to keep his team in the game. 

The Leaf's took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission after goals scored in both the first and last minute of the period by Darcy Tucker and Tomas Kaberle respectively.

Derek Roy would get the Sabres back to within one goal on a goal 4:22 into the second frame.

The teams went into the second intermission with Toronto leading 2-1.

The Sabres came out firing with their season on the line and tied it up on a goal by Steve Bernier 9:48 into the third frame.

That was short-lived however as Alex Steen potted the go-ahead goal for the Toronto Maple Leafs at 12:03 of the third.

The Sabres, with their season in the balance, would tie the game up thanks to Thomas Vanek, on the powerplay at 14:39 of the third period.

The teams would remain deadlocked through the overtime frame, winning it in the shootout on a Maxim Afinogenov goal.

Buffalo will play its two remaining games on the road, Thursday night in Montreal and Saturday night in Boston, while Toronto has meaningless games against Ottawa on Thursday night and in Montreal on Saturday night to round out their schedule.