Quick hits: Maple Leafs 4, Sabres 2 - The Buffalo News
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Quick hits: Maple Leafs 4, Sabres 2

The Sabres got ready for their spring vacation. Toronto got ready for the NHL playoffs.

It was as mismatched as could be.

The Maple Leafs and their fans were loud and proud Monday night in KeyBank Center. Toronto needed less than six minutes to open a 3-0 lead, and it cruised to a 4-2 victory over the lifeless Sabres.

[Photo Gallery: Maple Leafs 4, Sabres 2]

Buffalo was 18-2-1 in its last 21 home games against the Leafs, but it had no chance at bettering that record. Toronto outshot the Sabres, 45-22, and essentially did whatever it wanted.

The Sabres have lost three in a row to fall to 32-35-12 with three games remaining.

Toronto has won four straight and is 11-2-1 in its last 14 games, improving to 39-24-15 overall. The Leafs moved back into second place in the Atlantic Division.

Almost a record: The Leafs exploded for three goals in just 43 seconds, nearly breaking a 77-year-old record. Toronto scored three times in 39 seconds against the New York Americans on Jan. 20, 1940.

Toronto scored with 4:26, 5:01 and 5:09 off the clock to take a 3-0 lead into the first intermission.

Say goodbye: Sabres starting goaltender Robin Lehner disappeared to the dressing room after the third goal. He got yanked after stopping just two of the Leafs’ five shots. At that point, the Sabres had no shots. Lehner stayed away for the rest of the first period, but he came to the bench for the start of the second.

No shot: The Sabres entered the first intermission in an 18-2 shot hole. Cody Franson took one from the blue line with 9:19 to go, and Evander Kane had a shot from the right side with 5:32 left.

The Leafs built their advantage to 26-5 late in the second before heading to the break with a 29-8 edge.

Setting records: Auston Matthews scored Toronto’s second goal, putting his name in two record books. He became the highest-scoring U.S.-born rookie with his 39th goal, breaking the record of 38 set by Neal Broten in 1981-82. Matthews also set the Toronto rookie points record with 67, breaking the mark of 66 set by Peter Ihnacak in 1982-83.

Toronto became the second team in NHL history to feature three rookies with 60 points each, joining the 1980-81 Quebec Nordiques. Mitch Marner and William Nylander hit the 60-point mark Monday, joining Matthews.

A one …: Leo Komarov probably never had an easier goal to open the scoring. Sabres defenseman Jake McCabe coughed up the puck in the corner, and Nazem Kadri spotted a wide-open Komarov at the far side of the crease. He calmly tapped home his 14th goal.

And a two …: Matthews found plenty of room in the slot, and he fired high into the top corner.

And a three …: Tyler Bozak won a faceoff into the Sabres’ zone to James van Riemsdyk. The winger kicked the puck to his stick and quickly beat Lehner for his 26th goal.

Shorty: The Sabres got a glimmer of hope to start the second. The Leafs opened the period with a five-on-three for 13 seconds, but the Sabres killed that. Ryan O’Reilly then found an open lane on Jake Gardiner’s expressway, blowing past the defenseman to score short-handed with 1:51 off the clock.

The goal was O’Reilly’s 20th of the season. It was just his second of the season to come in a regulation loss. He’s scored 16 goals in wins and two in overtime losses.

Add another: After being pushed into goaltender Anders Nilsson and taking a couple of whacks for it, Nazem Kadri slipped a shot through Nilsson's pads with 14:10 remaining. Kadri celebrated by shouting at Buffalo defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen, and the players on the ice began pushing and shoving.

Ristolainen, who tried to spin out of a linesman's grasp, got two minutes for roughing and a 10-minute misconduct. Kadri got four minutes for roughing, while Buffalo's Zemgus Girgensons and Toronto's Nikita Zaitsev received two each.

Kane picked up a 10-minute misconduct with 5:57 remaining.

Late break: Jack Eichel scored on a breakaway with just 55.6 seconds left, slipping the puck between the pads of Frederik Andersen for his 24th goal.

Say hello: The Sabres welcomed new Buffalo Bills coach Sean McDermott to the game with a second-period appearance on the scoreboard.

Counting the house: Since it was a Monday, the building wasn’t as packed as the Saturday meeting between the teams a couple of weeks ago. The Sabres announced a crowd of 18,829 that shouted, "Go, Leafs, go" early and often.

Next: The Sabres finish their 2016-17 home schedule Wednesday when the Montreal Canadiens come to town for a 7:30 p.m. start. The Sabres visit Florida on Saturday and Tampa Bay on Sunday, then will return home to clean out their lockers.

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