Ales Kotalik’s overtime goal lifts Sabres past Maple Leafs

BUFFALO, N.Y. – Ales Kotalik scored 1:03 into overtime to cap a three-goal rally in helping the Buffalo Sabres to a 3-2 pre-season victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night.

Derek Roy and Paul Gaustad scored power-play goals in the final 2:21 of regulation to force overtime, and Maxim Afinogenov had three assists in Buffalo’s pre-season home-opener. Ryan Miller stopped 26 shots for the Sabres (1-2).

Kotalik scored the winner when he chased down a loose puck in the left corner. Holding onto the puck, he worked his way back to the point and blasted a shot that cleanly beat rookie goalie Justin Pogge in a game that was scoreless after 40 minutes.

Defencemen Ian White and Pavel Kubina each scored power-play goals for Toronto (1-3). The Maple Leafs appeared to have the game in hand after Kubina blasted a shot from the right point to put Toronto up 2-0 with 6:40 left.

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Roy scored with 2:21 left, when he deflected in Afinogenov’s spin-around shot from the right boards. Gaustad then forced overtime with five seconds remaining, when he parked himself in front and redirected Afinogenov’s centring pass.

Both of the goals were scored with Buffalo on the power play and with Miller pulled in favour of an extra attacker.

Pogge had a solid game despite the loss. Toronto’s 2004 third-round draft pick finished with 28 saves, and stopped the first 25 shots he faced – including 15 in the first period.