Anderson, Sabres beat Maple Leafs 5-1 to snap 6-game skid
TORONTO (AP) — Craig Anderson made 29 saves, Victor Olofsson and Tage Thompson scored in the second period and the Buffalo Sabres beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-1 on Wednesday night to end a six-game losing streak.
“We made it hard on them and they had to work for every chance they got,” Olofsson said. “I think we played a perfect road game.”
Toronto played at home in front of a full crowd for the first time since Dec. 11, after Ontario eased COVID-19 capacity restrictions Tuesday.
“I thought our guys, all four lines ... all played hard for each other,” Buffalo coach Don Granato said. “Our guys had worked really hard, and I don’t think they necessarily deserved to be on the string they were on of not winning.”
The Maple Leafs were showered with boos following their uninspired performance.
“Terrible from start to finish,” Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said in a blunt assessment.
“We just didn’t have it ... simple as that,” he added. “That’s a reflection on the coaching. That’s a reflection on the players.
“I didn’t think anybody had it.”
Jacob Bryson, Jeff Skinner and Kyle Okposo also scored to help Buffalo finish off a five-game trip. Seventh in the Atlantic Division, the Sabres improved to 17-30-8 — nine points ahead of last-place Montreal.
“These are the games that I think we need to get better at,” said Rasmus Sandin, who was on the ice with defense partner Morgan Rielly for three goals against. “Buffalo, no disrespect or anything, but I think that’s a team that we should beat.
“We just weren’t prepared in the right way.”
Sandin scored for Toronto, and Petr Mrazek stopped 26 shots. The Maple Leafs had won three in a row. Third in the Atlantic, they fell to 35-15-4.
Olofsson gave Buffalo a 2-1 lead off a rebound with 7:41 remaining in the second, and Thompson made it 3-1 with 1:29 left in the period.
The 6-foot-7 Thompson controlled the puck in the slot, spun and beat Mrazek. Thompson has 23 goals in 51 games this season after scoring 18 goals in his first 145 NHL games.
Skinner and Okposo scored in the third. Skinner has 21 goals, and Okposo 14.
Bryson opened the scoring at 2:26 of the first period with Toronto’s Alexander Kerfoot off for tripping. Bryson scored for first time this season and the second in 84 career NHL games.
Sandin tied it with 8:12 left in the first period. Mitch Marner, playing his 400th NHL game, assisted on the goal.
“We’re trying to accomplish something,” said Maple Leafs captain John Tavares, whose goal drought stands at 14 games. “We have to be ready to play no matter who our opponent is.”
NOTES: The 40-year-old Anderson is in his 19th NHL season. ... Maple Leafs star Auston Matthews remained tied with Edmonton’s Leon Draisaitl for the NHL goals lead with 37. ... Toronto dropped to 19-6-1 at home. ... The teams will beat again outdoors March 13 at Hamilton’s Tim Hortons Field in the Heritage Classic.
Sabres: Host Minnesota on Friday night.
Maple Leafs: Host Vancouver on Saturday night.
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