ST. CATHARINES, Ont. – The Sabres' offense is still in an offseason slumber. It should wake up when the power play does.
Buffalo eked out a 1-0 shootout victory over Toronto on Thursday, getting the only goal when Matt Moulson scored on the Sabres' fourth attempt of the shootout. Buffalo has scored three regulation goals during its three preseason games.
Buffalo went 0 for 5 with the man advantage against the Maple Leafs, falling to 0 for 16 this preseason. The Sabres were 0 for 5 in the opening 2-1 loss to Minnesota and 0 for 6 in Tuesday's 3-2 overtime win against Ottawa.
The Sabres' power play had eight shots in two minutes midway through the third period, but they couldn't find the net as the game remained scoreless. Marcus Foligno, Cole Schneider, Zach Bogosian and Evander Kane all had close-range chances that goaltender Kasimir Kaskisuo stopped.
The Sabres outshot the Leafs, 38-23, including 35-21 during regulation. Anders Nilsson had the shutout for Buffalo and stopped four shots in the shootout.
Brotherly competition: Alexander Nylander has skated with his brother, William, countless times in his life. He’d never skated against him, however, until Thursday.
With William playing for the Leafs, the Sabres’ Nylander had his best moments of training camp in the opening nine minutes. He skated at higher speed than anyone else on the ice and had two scoring chances, including a shot off the crossbar.
“The speed of the game and the pace of the game is something that he’s learning,” Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said. “Testing-wise, he’s one of our fastest skaters, but the pace of the NHL game and the pace at which you play is something you have to learn.
“It’s new for him and he’s learning to adjust, and he’s more than capable of doing it.”
Using his head: Nilsson had two shots ricochet off his mask, the second game he used his noggin to make that many stops. He turned aside 26 of 27 shots during his debut Monday.
Sparks cools fire: The Sabres started hot, taking 11 of the first 13 shots and finishing the opening period with an 11-4 edge. Toronto goaltender Garret Sparks was up the task, sending the teams into the first intermission in a scoreless tie.
The Leafs changed goaltenders with 7:31 left in the second period, inserting Kaskisuo. Sparks stopped all 17 shots he faced.
Fasching flash: Hudson Fasching is a power forward who does most of his work near the net, but he showed a creative side late the first. He picked up the puck in the neutral zone, skated through Toronto defenders then circled the net for a shot that got stopped.
Door man: Toronto's Rich Clune laid such a big hit on Brendan Guhle in the corner with 11:35 to play that the Zamboni door entrance popped open. Buffalo's Matt Moulson rushed in to grab Clune, but the officials quickly stopped the skirmish.
Busy man: The Sabres again used defenseman Erik Burgdoerfer, making him the only player to appear in all three preseason games. He skated with Justin Falk. The Sabres signed Burgdoerfer to a one-year, two-way contract in July. He spent all of last season with Hershey of the American Hockey League, putting up six goals and 20 points in 74 games.
Back in town: The Sabres formerly made trips to St. Catharines as part of training camp, but this was their first visit to Meridian Centre. The 5,300-seat arena opened in September 2014 and is home to the Niagara IceDogs of the Ontario Hockey League. It was a pro-Toronto crowd with several "Go Leafs go" chants.
Lettermen: Forward Kyle Okposo and defensemen Josh Gorges and Zach Bogosian served as the Sabres' three alternate captains.
Replacement coach: With Leafs bench boss Mike Babcock coaching Team Canada at the World Cup, Toronto used assistant Jim Hiller as its coach.
Next: The Sabres and Maple Leafs complete their back-to-back meetings at 7 p.m. Friday in KeyBank Center (MSG, Radio WGR-AM 550). After facing Toronto, the Sabres will have three exhibitions left. They play Carolina on Tuesday in Marquette, Mich., and Wednesday in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. The finale is next Friday in Ottawa.