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, N.Y. (AP) Don’t tell Jason Pominville
and the Buffalo Sabres they have nothing to play for.For a team all but
mathematically out of playoff contention, the Sabres continued making a dent in
in the Eastern Conference playoff race with a 5-3 win against their cross-border
and Atlantic Division rival Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday.”It’s an easy game to
get prepared for,” said Pominville, one of four Sabres to score a goal and
assist. ”You know it’s going to be a great atmosphere in our building with the
fans they get.”The Sabres silenced the large contingent of ”Go, Leafs,
Go!”-chanting fans by building a 2-0 lead within the first four minutes. And
after the Maple Leafs tied the game, Buffalo responded by scoring three times
and sealed the victory on Johan Larsson’s goal midway through the third
period.Ryan O’Reilly, Sam Reinhart and Zemgus Girgensons also scored for
Buffalo, while Chad Johnson stopped 38 shots in extending the Maple Leafs’ skid
to 0-2-2.Though the Sabres remain at the bottom of the Eastern Conference
standings, they improved to 7-5-2 in their last 14 games. It’s a three-week
stretch during which Buffalo has defeated each of the division’s three top
teams, including Boston twice.Pominville also showed he hasn’t lost his touch
against Toronto.Re-acquired by the Sabres in a trade last summer after a
four-plus-season stint in Minnesota Anthony
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, Pominville now has 19 goals and 50 points
in 51 career games with Buffalo against Toronto.”Wow,” the former Sabres captain
said. ”I should play them more often.”Leo Komarov had two goals and Mitch Marner
also scored for Toronto.Frederik Andersen stopped 19 shots in allowing five
goals for the second consecutive outing after being yanked midway through a 5-2
loss to Washington in an outdoor game played at the U.S. Naval Academy on
Saturday.The only consolation for Andersen this time was he couldn’t be faulted
on Buffalo’s first four goals, all of which were set up by fortunate bounces.The
Sabres led 2-0 after Reinhart and Pominville deflected in shots from the right
point by Rasmus Ristolainen. Girgensons put Buffalo up 3-2 when Reinhart’s shot
from a bad angle banked in off his skate.The Sabres received yet another break
in going up 4-2 when Toronto defenseman Ron Hainsey’s clearing attempt struck
referee Kendrick Nicholson’s skate. The puck caromed directly to O’Reilly, who
scored from the right circle.”That was pretty crazy. I think it seemed like
everything just hit something and found a way into the net,” Andersen said. ”In
the big picture, they earned their bounces.”Leafs coach Mike Babcock couldn’t
fault Andersen, though he took issue with the NHL for allowing Larsson’s goal to
stand up following a video review for goaltender interference.After stopping
Pominville’s one-timer from the left circle, Andersen was knocked off balance
from behind by Larsson, who was skating through the crease. Larsson then
corralled the rebound and swept it under Andersen.Babcock challenged the call by
saying Larsson first collided with Andersen while the two were in the
crease.”What they told me is he was interfered with outside the paint, which is
not true and that, tonight Jordan
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, was goalie interference no matter what way
you look at it,” Babcock said.Toronto has matched its longest skid of the
season, which comes after the Leafs enjoyed a 13-2 run.”The bottom line is
you’ve got to get it turned around. We can’t continue to lose hockey games,”
Babcock said.NOTES: The Sabres continued their home dominance over Toronto,
improving to 19-3-1 in their past 23 meetings at Buffalo. … One of the more
amusing moments came when television cameras captured an exchange between
Ristolainen and Toronto’s Nazem Kadri, after the two were sent to the penalty
box for fighting in the second period. Ristolainen held up four fingers in
telling Kadri the teams play four more times. Kadri responded by correcting
Ristolainen, saying it’s only three more times because Monday’s game didn’t
count. … Maple Leafs LW Matt Martin had an assist while playing for the first
time since a 4-2 loss to Colorado on Jan. 22. Martin had been a healthy scratch
for 18 consecutive games.UP NEXTMaple Leafs: Get four-day break before hosting
the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday.Sabres: Host the Calgary Flames on
Wednesday.— LOS ANGELES (AP) The third period has belonged to the Los Angeles
Kings all season, and they showed it again with another furious finish against
the Edmonton Oilers.Paul LaDue scored the tiebreaking goal on a power play with
5:27 remaining, and the Kings pulled away late in a 5-2 victory Wednesday
night.Darcy Kuemper made 25 saves for his fourth straight win, although his
shutout streak ended at 193:58 – the second-longest in Los Angeles history
behind Jonathan Quick’s mark of 202:11 in October 2011. Adrian Kempe and Kyle
Clifford also scored for the Kings, who improved to 24-4-2 when tied or leading
after the second period and boosted their NHL-leading scoring margin in the
third to plus-35.”These are games we want to win Ryan
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,” Clifford said. ”We want to have an
identity that we’re a third-period hockey team, so we came out ready to
play.”Drew Doughty got his 300th NHL assist and 400th career point for Los
Angeles. Current general manager Rob Blake is the only other defenseman in
franchise history to reach both milestones.Connor McDavid scored for the third
straight game and Leon Draisaitl had a power-play goal for the Oilers, who
failed to earn a point for the second time in their past eight games (5-2-1).
Cam Talbot made 23 saves.LaDue put the Kings back in front 3-2 at 14:33 of the
third with his second NHL goal. Edmonton challenged for goaltender interference,
but the play stood as called.Alex Iafallo and Anze Kopitar added empty-net
goals.”They obviously gained some momentum in the second. We took a couple
penalties we shouldn’t have,” LaDue said. ”I thought we came out strong in the
third and we executed to our game plan, and it paid off.”McDavid tied it 2-all
at 10:20 of the second by beating Kuemper between his legs, giving him seven
goals in his last three games. McDavid needed several seconds to collect himself
after colliding with teammate Jujhar Khaira in the neutral zone before Michael
Cammalleri found him for what would become a 1-on-1 break against Doughty.”Might
have been cheating a little bit high glove, and he made a good shot five-hole
and made me look silly,” Kuemper said.Draisaitl cut Edmonton’s deficit to 2-1 at
3:28 of the second, scoring the first goal Kuemper allowed after stopping 85
straight shots.Clifford scored his second of the season to give the Kings a 1-0
lead 1:10 into the first period, and Kempe made it 2-0 just 58 seconds into the
second with his 16th goal.”We’ve been through that scenario too many times this
season Adam
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,” Oilers coach Todd McLellan said.Edmonton
had three chances to take the lead early in the third, starting when Darnell
Nurse’s shot hit the post. Kuemper then made a sprawling save to stop
Cammalleri’s follow-up before Milan Lucic hit the post again.”The post was a
good friend of ours tonight,” Kings coach John Stevens said. ”We had some luck
there on those plays there, but at the end of the day I thought the guys dug in,
did a good job there and got the ship righted and found a way to win the hockey
game before we hit the road.”NOTES: Kopitar passed Butch Goring for fifth place
in franchise history with his 276th career goal. . Oilers D Adam Larsson missed
his fourth straight game following the death of his father. … Kings D Alec
Martinez (lower body) missed a second consecutive game, but Stevens expects him
to be available during the upcoming seven-game road trip.UP NEXTOilers: Visit
the Anaheim Ducks on Friday night.Kings: Visit the Florida Panthers on Friday
night to open their seven-game trip.—
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