Rielly’s late goal gives Maple Leafs and Woll a win in the goalkeeper’s NHL debut

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Morgan Rielly’s first helped Joseph Woll win the first.

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Rielly scored his first goal of the season with 11.8 seconds left in the third period at Buffalo, giving the Maple Leafs a 5-4 victory against the Sabers and making a Woll winner in his National Hockey League debut.

Woll, the Leafs’ third-round pick in 2016, made 23 saves and the Leafs won for the eighth time in nine games.

Rielly’s shot from the spot hit the crossbar and bounced across the line past a shocked Aaron Dell into the Buffalo net.

The Leafs, who won in overtime Friday night at home against Calgary, improved to 1-2 in the second game of straight sets.

The Leafs apparently hit a cushion in the third period when captain John Tavares expertly deflected a shot from Rielly that outscored Dell on a power play.

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That goal, Tavares’ 100th with the Leafs, came at 9:22 p.m. and put Toronto up 4-2.

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The Sabers had none of that and were soon equaled.

Jeff Skinner got his second of the game at 10:47 after a draw by Travis Dermott, and the game was tied at 11:46 when Rasmus Dahlin’s shot eluded Woll, who had lost his stick and had Mitch’s. Marner in his right hand.

When called last weekend after Petr Mrazek suffered another groin injury, Woll said he was ready to play.

Woll had to wait a bit during the week while Jack Campbell did his thing, but Woll knew when he was called up from the Toronto Marlies that he was ready.

“I really try to take it day by day and if they call me I’ll be ready,” Woll said. “I’ve worked a lot, so I feel confident about myself and I feel safe in this group.”

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Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe told Woll several days ago that he would start at Buffalo, giving the 23-year-old enough time to put himself in his shoes mentally. He also gave his family members time to make travel arrangements to be present.

“We think the time is right to give it a try,” Keefe said before the game. “Young players, you have to give them some opportunities to show what they can do and here we are.

“(But) my focus is on the team that plays against him. We need to make sure we are focused and doing our job to provide you with every opportunity. to succeed. It doesn’t matter who our goalkeeper is, our job is to prevent teams from reaching our network. “

The Leafs weren’t very good in that regard, and they didn’t have much to do on the other end despite the score. Toronto made 13 shots on goal in two periods before the third period madness began.

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Keefe made some changes to the lineup, citing the need to use his depth. Keefe scratched winger Wayne Simmonds and defender Rasmus Sandin. They inserted Kirill Semyonov, who crossed the fourth line in his second NHL game, and Dermott.

Ondrej Kase, after a recent good play, got promoted to a line with Auston Matthews and William Nylander. Nick Ritchie, the only Leafs forward who played in every game this season and didn’t score, played alongside Tavares and Mitch Marner, and those centered around David Kampf, Pierre Engvall and Alex Kerfoot.

Semyonov was between Michael Bunting, who scored one goal in his previous 11 games, and Jason Spezza.

The changes worked, but not really until the second period, when the Leafs scored a pair of goals 70 seconds apart.

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First it was Kase, going high above Dell’s glove at 7:18 after fanning himself on the opening shot. Bunting then bounced on an open net at 8:28 after Spezza worked to get the puck.

That’s three goals in the last three games for Kase, who played in just three games for the Boston Bruins last season due to concussion issues.

“I feel like the last seven games I’ve been doing a better job,” Kase said during his pregame availability. “The weather, the speed game, everything.”

Woll couldn’t have asked for a better opening.

In the first minute of the game, he crossed the fold to deny Dylan Cozens with a save with his left pad. Moments later, his teammates bet him on a 1-0 lead.

Kampf, with his second of the season, scored an oddball at 2:43. Surrounded by Sabers up front, Kampf managed to get a piece of the puck, giving him enough power to slide under a defender and pass Dell.

Skinner tied the game at 2:42 p.m.

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