April 3, 2018 / 2:17 AM / 3 months ago

Matthews, Nylander lead Maple Leafs past Sabres

Auston Matthews and William Nylander each had two goals and an assist as the Toronto Maple Leafs cruised to a 5-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Monday night at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.

Andreas Johnsson also had a goal and an assist for Toronto, which is already locked into the third Stanley Cup Playoff spot in the Atlantic Division but matched the team record for most points (103) in a regular season. Curtis McElhinney had 32 saves for the Maple Leafs while improving to 11-5-1 on the season.

Sam Reinhart and Jason Pominville scored for Buffalo. Chad Johnson finished with 31 saves for the Sabres in losing for just the second time in 10 career decisions (7-2-1) against Toronto.

Johnsson gave Toronto a 1-0 lead in the first period when he scored his second goal of the season. Tomas Plekanec picked up the puck along the left boards and fired a pass across the crease to Johnsson, who was left alone by the right side of the net where he tapped the puck through Johnson’s pads.

Buffalo tied it early in the second period on Reinhart’s power-play goal, his 24th of the season, on a redirect of a Rasmus Ristolainen shot from high slot while Roman Polak was serving a double-minor for high-sticking Jack Eichel.

But the Maple Leafs took control with three goals in a span of 5:39 starting with a power-play tally by Matthews, who fired a wrist shot from the dot in the left circle.

Matthews then displayed his passing skills, taking the puck in his own end and firing a laser down the middle of the ice to Nylander, who split the defense and fired a wrist shot past Johnson’s glove side.

Nylander then made it 4-1 with his second goal in less than three minutes and 19th of the season when he took a pass from Zach Hyman in the slot and roofed a shot over Johnson’s glove.

Pominville cut the Toronto lead to 4-2 early in the third period with his 14th goal of the season, banging in a rebound from the right side of the net. But Matthews answered with his second of the game and 33rd of the season 3 1/2 minutes later with another wrist shot from the bottom of the left circle off a pass from Nylander.

—Field Level Media

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