Nazem Kadri made the most of his call-up from the minor leagues to the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday, scoring the game-winning goal in a 3-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres at the Air Canada Center.
The victory snapped a three-game losing streak for Toronto, while Northeast rivals Buffalo have now lost three in a row.
“It felt great,” Kadri told reporters. “It’s nice to have an immediate impact. Last year it took me a few games to score the first one so it’s great to get the monkey off my back. Hopefully there are more to come.”
Jason Pominville gave the Sabres a much deserved lead midway through the second period with a power-play goal.
Toronto were called for four consecutive penalties and Buffalo carried the momentum, firing 14 of the first 15 shots in the period.
The Leafs struck back quickly with goals by Dave Steckel and Phil Kessel 62 seconds apart, giving them a 2-1 lead going into the third.
Derek Roy tied the score early in the third period, pouncing on a turnover and firing a shot over the left shoulder of Leafs netminder James Reimer, who made 40 saves in the game.
Kadri put the seal on an impressive night by taking a drop pass from Clarke MacArthur and sending a wrist shot into the top corner.
“We got the number of shots,” Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. “We got the chances. We got the lead. We bounced back and had a great start to the third period.”
Already missing six regulars, the Sabres lost top goal scorer Thomas Vanek, who did not play the third period because of an injury.
SENATORS 4, PANTHERS 3
Ottawa’s Bobby Butler scored 2 minutes, 2 seconds into overtime to lift the Senators to victory over the Florida Panthers, notching their third straight win and moving into a share of second place in the Northeast Division.
Daniel Alfredsson scored his 399th goal and had two assists for Ottawa, who gave up leads of 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2. Chris Neil and Erik Karlsson each had a goal and an assist.
Tomas Kopecky drew Florida even at 3-3 with 1 minute, 12 seconds left in the third and with the goalie pulled for an extra attacker.
Michal Repik and Shawn Matthias also scored for Florida, whose lead atop the Southeast Division was sliced to six points.
FLAMES 3, RED WINGS 2
In Calgary, Canada, Curtis Glencross scored twice in Calgary’s victory over Detroit.
Glencross got what stood as the winner in the second period when he broke into the Detroit zone on a two-on-one. Instead of passing, Glencross fired a low shot that bounced off the post and in behind the Red Wings goalie to put Calgary up 3-0.
Blake Comeau also scored for the Flames, who won their fifth in a row at home.
Jiri Hudler and Ian White pulled back goals in the third period goals for the Red Wings.
OILERS 4, WILD 1
In Edmonton, Canada, Jordan Eberle scored twice as Edmonton snapped a four-game losing skid by downing Minnesota.
Ryan Smyth and Lennart Petrell also scored for the Oilers, who are last in the Northwest Division topped by the Wild.
Dany Heatley scored for Minnesota, who have now lost six games in a row to follow a seven-game winning streak.
RANGERS 4, ISLANDERS 2
In New York, Brandon Dubinsky scored his first goal in more than a month to help the Rangers win the all-New York clash.
Dubinsky staked the Rangers to a 1-0 lead in the first period, while Marian Gaborik — with his NHL-leading 20th — and Michael Del Zotto connected in the second for the Rangers, who have won three straight.