BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – For only being a preseason game, you could sense the tension building between the Sabres and Leafs late into the third period of Saturday night’s showdown.
The two fan bases were also in the spirit, trying to over power one another with their “Let’s Go Buffalo!” and “Go Leafs Go!” chants.
Leading 4-3, and with the Leafs pushing the puck up the ice in the final few minutes, defense Rasmus Ristolainen leveled Toronto’s Tyson Barrie near center ice.
The Leafs took exception and eventually Sam Reinhart and Kevin Gravel got into a scuffle and were sent off the ice with roughing penalties.
“We play each other a lot. We know each other — two teams that are pretty familiar. We obviously don’t like each other much,” captain Jack Eichel said after the game. “It was no different tonight. It was a battle the whole game, it was back and forth, I thought we did a good job of sticking with it and finding a way to win.”
“I feel like more early on, it was chaos,” Ristolainen added. “Everyone tried to do everything and it’s good to get the intensity up and can’t wait to play them in the regular season.”
Tied at 2 heading into the third period, Sam Reinhart and Jimmy Vesey got Blue & Gold faithful on their feet for a highlight reel goal.
Reinhart went tape-to-tape on a stretch pass as Vesey skated in all-alone toward Michael Hutchinson. The winger made good on his opportunity, collecting his first goal of the preseason to give Buffalo a 3-2 lead.
However, the one-goal cushion was short lived as Toronto answered back with a short handed tally to pull even.
As Jake Muzzin planted Victor Olofsson into the Leafs’ bench, the winger finally got back to the ice and watched as the Leafs raced into the offensive zone and tied the game.
There would be some redemption for the winger, who would bury the game-winning goal late in the final frame, collecting his second tally on a beautiful feed from Reinhart.
“It definitely felt good,” Olofsson said. “Especially to get the game winner that late. So, yeah, I’m very happy.”
Reinhart scored the first goal of the game for the Blue and Gold, tying the game after a tally from John Tavares.