John Tavares scores first goal on home ice as Maple Leafs beat Sabres 5-3
Toronto Maple Leafs' John Tavares is congratulated by teammates following his goal on the Buffalo Sabres during first period NHL action in Toronto on Friday September 21, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Joshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press
Published Friday, September 21, 2018 10:29PM EDT
TORONTO - John Tavares scored his first two goals on home ice with the Maple Leafs as Toronto defeated the Buffalo Sabres 5-3 in pre-season play on Friday night.
Ron Hainsey, Pierre Engvall and Chris Mueller also scored for the Leafs. Curtis McElhinney stopped all 20 shots he faced after replacing Garret Sparks, who made nine saves, midway through the second period at the newly-named Scotiabank Arena.
Andrew Oglevie, C.J. Smith and Tage Thompson replied for the Sabres. Linus Ullmark made 27 saves in taking the loss.
The teams will play an exhibition rematch Saturday night in Buffalo.
Oglevie opened the scoring half a minute into the first period when he slid a rebound past Sparks, but Hainsey's shot through traffic tied it 18 seconds later. Engvall continued the chaotic start 23 seconds after that when he took a pass from Colin Greening and beat Ullmark for a third goal in the game's first 1:11.
Tavares then made it 3-1 with his third of the pre-season at 3:42, finishing off a sequence he started in the Toronto zone. The star centre fed a stretch pass to Marner, who in turn dropped it back to Timothy Liljegren. The rookie defenceman blasted a one-timer at Ullmark, and Tavares was there to bury the rebound upstairs.