Cal O'Reilly, Larsson lead Sabres over Maple Leafs 4-1
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) With family and friends on hand, Buffalo Sabres forward Ryan O'Reilly was happy to take a backseat to his older brother.
Even better, the O'Reillys enjoyed the opportunity to celebrate a goal together on the ice for the first time in their NHL careers.
Cal O'Reilly scored a career-best two goals, including the eventual winner, in the Sabres' 4-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night in a late-season matchup between Atlantic Division rivals who have already eliminated from playoff contention.
''You never think growing up playing on the backyard rink against each other and beating each other up, that at this level you'll get an opportunity to play together,'' said the 25-year-old Ryan O'Reilly, the Sabres top-paid player. ''Just to watch him have success tonight, it's awesome.''
It was a fun night for the 29-year-old Cal, a journeyman minor leaguer who signed with Buffalo a little over a week after the Sabres acquired his brother in a trade with Colorado.
''For them giving me a chance to play with (Ryan), it's pretty special for us,'' he said. ''There was a time where I didn't know I'd get the opportunity again, and I'm very fortunate the Sabres here gave me a chance to play.''
Ryan O'Reilly had the secondary assist on his brother's power-play goal that put Buffalo up 2-0 with 19 seconds left in the first period on his brother's give-and-go with Jack Eichel.
Johan Larsson also scored twice, including an empty-netter, capping Buffalo's seventh straight home win over Toronto. The Sabres improved to 17-1-1 in their past 19 home games against Toronto in a run that dates to Feb. 4, 2009.
Brooks Laich scored for Toronto and Tobias Lindberg set up the goal in his NHL debut. The Maple Leafs acquired Lindberg in a multiplayer deal that sent captain Dion Phaneuf to Ottawa last month.
Lindberg's performance was the highlight for Toronto. When O'Reilly put Buffalo ahead 3-0 with his second goal 3:41 into the second period, the Sabres held a 19-5 shots advantage.
Later in the second, Lindberg got to the puck in the left corner and was heading behind the net when he made a no-look pass that set up Laich in front for a one-timer.
''It was a great debut for him,'' said Laich, who scored his first goal since being acquired by the Leafs in a trade with Washington in February. ''He does a lot of big things right. He has to round out his game a little bit as everybody does, but happy for him to get his first point. A very special moment.''
The loss left the Maple Leafs at the bottom of the NHL standings with five games remaining in their season.
Chad Johnson made 25 saves for Buffalo.
Cal O'Reilly's second goal came on a great individual effort. He sped up the left wing and beat defensemen T.J. Brennan and Jake Gardiner to a puck that Buffalo's David Legwand cleared from his own zone. O'Reilly leaned into his shot at the left circle and blasted it past Garret Sparks.
The Sabres had a goal disallowed with 2:43 left in the second period. Mark Pysyk scored on a shot from the left point, but referee Kendrick Nicholson waved it off by ruling there was incidental contact between Sparks and Sabres forward Hudson Fasching.
Replays showed that Fasching wasn't inside the crease and that it was Sparks who initiated the contact. The goal was still disallowed even after the Sabres used their challenge to have the play reviewed.
NOTES: Before the game, Sabres coach Dan Bylsma announced LW Evander Kane would miss the final five games of the season after he hurt his left hand in a 3-2 loss at Detroit on Monday. ... Buffalo improved to 4-0-1 in its past five home games. .. The Maple Leafs' last win at Buffalo was a 4-3 overtime victory on Jan. 29, 2013. There were only three players dressed on Thursday who competed in that game: Buffalo's Marcus Foligno and Toronto's Tyler Bozak and Nazem Kadri.