TORONTO – The Sabres are looking for things to build upon, things that will help them in future years. One trait jumps out.
They rarely quit.
Down by two goals with 13 minutes to play Monday night, the Sabres scored twice to tie Toronto, 3-3. Sam Reinhart completed the comeback by scoring in the shootout to deliver a 4-3 victory.
The Sabres have won six games when trailing after two periods. Only Los Angeles and Ottawa (seven each) have more third-period comebacks this season. Buffalo forced overtime in three other games.
Buffalo won in Air Canada Centre for the first time since Jan. 21, 2013, snapping a six-game losing streak in Toronto. The home team had won the previous 12 games in the rivalry.
Sabres goaltender Chad Johnson, starting for just the second time in 10 games, turned aside 30 shots. The Leafs’ Garret Sparks made 24 saves.
Milestone for Eichel: Sabres rookie Jack Eichel scored with 12:39 to play to reach the 20-goal mark. Matt Moulson pushed the puck to Eichel in the slot, and the center ripped home a shot to pull the Sabres within 3-2. The last Sabres rookie to score 20 goals was Tyler Ennis in 2010-11.
Kane stays close: Evander Kane stayed within one goal of Eichel's team-high total when he tied the game with 9:19 to play. Sam Reinhart stole the puck deep in the Toronto zone and quickly passed across the ice to Kane, who was alone for a tap-in to make it 3-3. Kane has 19 goals.
Post: Toronto's Nazem Kadri tripped Eichel during overtime, giving the Sabres a four-on-three power play. The quartet of Eichel, Kane, Reinhart and Rasmus Ristolainen kept the puck in the Leafs' zone for nearly the entire two minutes but couldn't find the net. Eichel rang a slap shot off the post for Buffalo's best chance.
Quick start for Leafs: Toronto needed just 25 seconds to take a 1-0 lead. The Sabres allowed Nikita Soshnikov to carry the puck from center ice to the doorstep. Buffalo also failed to pick up Leo Komarov, and the forward easily tapped in Soshnikov’s pass before fans had even settled into their seats.
No kill: The Sabres allowed a power-play goal for the third straight game as the Leafs took a 2-0 lead with 8:55 left in the first. Buffalo escaped a 27-second five-on-three chance for Toronto, but it couldn’t kill second penalty. Brady Boyes slid a pass to Brooks Laich at the top of the crease, but the puck hit the skate of Sabres defenseman Jake McCabe before it got there and caromed into the net.
No power: The Sabres went 0 for 3 on the power play during the first period, and they’re still searching for their first five-on-three goal. They had a two-man advantage for 42 seconds but couldn’t connect.
Long time coming: After more than a year without a goal, Sabres defenseman Mark Pysyk rejoined the scoring ranks with 3:36 left in the second to make it 2-1. He needed video review to make it official. Pysyk kicked the puck at the net during a rush, then fired the rebound. Sparks got his stick on the shot, and the puck settled near the goal line. The netminder inadvertently pushed the puck over the line with his blocker.
Pysyk, whose previous goal was in Columbus on Feb. 24, 2015, ended his drought at 40 games.
Back down by two: The Sabres couldn’t build on Pysyk’s goal and trudged to the dressing room down by two after allowing a goal with 18.2 seconds left in the middle period. Johnson stopped a shot from the slot and turned aside Zach Hyman’s rebound chance. Hyman got another whack and buried it for his first NHL goal. The crowd went wild for the Toronto native.
Turning up the shots: The Sabres had just eight shots through 28 minutes. They took 10 in the final 12 minutes of the second period.
Eventful two shifts: After getting the assist on his first shift, Soshnikov was helped to the trainer’s room following his second. The rookie tried to hit Johan Larsson near the boards, but the Sabres center sidestepped the attempt. Soshnikov fell awkwardly into the boards, banging his head in the process. He returned later in the period and attempted six shots through 40 minutes.
Counting the house: The Leafs announced a crowd of 18,950.
Next: The Sabres will play for the second consecutive night Tuesday when the New York Rangers visit First Niagara Center. Buffalo is 5-5-1 on the second game of back-to-backs.