Hinostroza leads Sabres past Maple Leafs in outdoor game
HAMILTON, Ontario (AP) Vinnie Hinostroza had two goals and an assist, Peyton Krebs also scored twice and the Buffalo Sabres defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-2 in the Heritage Classic outdoor game Sunday.
Tage Thompson added an empty-net goal and Craig Anderson made 36 saves in the Sabres victory at a windy Tim Horton Field, home of the CFL's Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
"It's really special, being able to chip in and help the team win," Hinstroza said. "Obviously we got the win, that's the biggest thing. There's so many distractions this weekend with family over and everyone at the hotel enjoying themselves, but our team did a great job putting that in the background and coming in and realizing we have a big game to win here.
"I'm really proud of our team."
Toronto's Auston Matthews scored his NHL-leading 45th goal, Ondrej Kase also scored and Petr Mrazek made 31 saves. Matthews faces a possible suspension for cross-checking Buffalo defenseman Rasmus Dahlin and is set to have a hearing with the league's department of player safety Monday.
Hinostroza snapped a 2-2 tie at 5:16 of the third period when he fired a shot from a sharp angle in the corner that sneaked between Mrazek's arm and the near post.
"I knew he was going to shoot it," Mrazek said. "I was too high."
Krebs made it 4-2 with 6:11 left when the puck trickled through Mrazek after the Leafs goaltender dislodged the net on a strange play that stood up after video review.
"I don't know what the rule is," Mrazek said. "I thought the post was out before the pass to the middle."
Thompson's short-handed empty netter at with 2:25 left in regulation sealed it in front of the fans bundled up for the game in weather that felt like 19 degrees. Crews had to clear snow off the ice a couple of times before warmups at the first NHL regular-season game in Steeltown since March 1994. But the flurries mostly subsided once the action got underway in front of a sellout crowd of 26,119.
The Leafs sported dark blue jerseys that pay homage to the Toronto Arenas - one of the franchise's previous iterations that played from 1917 to 1919 - while the Sabres wore cream-colored threads.
Toronto has lost to Buffalo (twice), Arizona and Montreal in recent weeks - teams well below the Maple Leafs in the standings as they try to secure a top spot in the Atlantic Division.
"I don't think that there's ever a night off," Toronto defenseman Morgan Rielly said. "Teams come out and play us hard. It's on us to respond. I don't think it's an issue for us long term, but as of right now it's been tough sledding."
Kase opened the scoring 40 seconds into the second period when he shoveled William Nylander's rebound past Anderson.
Buffalo responded just 41 seconds later when Hinostroza stripped Timothy Liljegren and fed Krebs to bury his fifth.
"Vinnie's an awesome guy," Krebs said. "Every night he, brings it. It's nice to see him get rewarded for that today, for sure. Good patience there, good play. All I had to do was hit the net. He was great for us tonight. It's exciting."
The Maple Leafs retook the lead at 2:57 when Matthews fired his 45th on a shot that dribbled through Anderson to get within two of the star center's career high of 47 goals as "M-V-P!" chants began at Tim Hortons Field.
But the Sabres tied it again at 10:53 when Hinostroza's pass in front went in Toronto's net off defenseman T.J. Brodie.
Coming off an ugly performance where he allowed four goals on 12 shots before being pulled in Thursday's 5-4 overtime loss to Arizona, Mrazek made a terrific glove save on Casey Mittelstadt early in the third period before failing to seal his post on Hinostroza's winner.
Mrazek got the start ahead of rookie Erik Kallgren with No. 1 goaltender Jack Campbell nursing a rib injury.
"I thought Petr was good," Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said. "It's not an easy environment to play in, especially for a goaltender. He looked solid, all things considered."
NOTES: Anderson won of both his previous outdoor starts in 2014 and 2017 with Ottawa, while Mrazek was victorious in his only other action in the elements with Detroit in 2016. ... Brodie picked up an assist on Toronto's second goal for the 300th point of his career. ... Canada's Olympic women's hockey team, which won gold at last month's Beijing Games, was honored before the game. . Ukrainian defenseman Artur Cholach of the Ontario Hockey League's Barrie Colts dropped the puck for the ceremonial faceoff alongside Wayne Gretzky.
Maple Leafs: Host Dallas on Tuesday night.
Sabres: At Edmonton on Thursday night.
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Updated March 13, 2022