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Bozak scores tying goal late, gets winner in shootout to lift Maple Leafs past Sabres, 4-3

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TORONTO — Nearing the end of a tough season, the Toronto Maple Leafs are glad to get wins any way they can.

Tyler Bozak tied the score late in regulation and then had the only goal in the shootout to lift the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 4-3 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday night.

"Obviously it's nice, hard to come by right now," Bozak said of the win. "It was nice to get the two points."

Toronto (27-35-6) moved past Carolina for 26th place overall with 14 games remaining. That lowered their chance of getting the No. 1 pick in the NHL entry draft to 8.5 percent.

"You want them to find ways to win games," Toronto interim coach Peter Horachek said. "That's the positive you can take out of it."

Jonathan Bernier had 30 saves through overtime and then stopped all three shots he faced in the tiebreaker. Brandon Kozun and Leo Komarov also scored in regulation for Toronto. Rookie defenseman Andrew MacWilliam had an assist for his first point in his NHL debut.

Johan Larsson, Tyler Ennis and Matt Moulson scored for the Sabres. Anders Lindback finished with 31 saves, including one highlight-reel glove stop in overtime on Komarov.

Despite picking up a point, injury and trade-ravaged Buffalo still has the lowest total in the league and a 20 percent chance of getting the top pick — expected to be Connor McDavid.

PHOTO: Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Jonathan Bernier makes a save on Buffalo Sabres Brian Gionta in a shootout in an NHL hockey game against the Toronto Maple Leafs in Toronto, Wednesday, March 11, 2015. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Frank Gunn)
Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Jonathan Bernier makes a save on Buffalo Sabres Brian Gionta in a shootout in an NHL hockey game against the Toronto Maple Leafs in Toronto, Wednesday, March 11, 2015. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Frank Gunn)

"We're limited on what we can do out there and the guys who played hard, played hard and that's all we can ask for," Sabres coach Ted Nolan said. "I'm proud of the way the group worked."

The Leafs turned up the pressure in the third period and the Sabres took three ill-advised penalties.

"Five penalties, it's tough to take against a team with offensive skill like that," Moulson said. "They're going to eventually capitalize."

Bozak's power-play goal with 3:25 remaining tied the score as he tipped in a shot by Phil Kessel.

Moulson had put the Sabres ahead with 8:10 to go in the second period.

Dion Phaneuf gave the puck away to Moulson on Larsson's goal at 6:52 of the first that opened the scoring. Kozun and Komarov scored 21 seconds apart, the fastest consecutive goals of the season, to give the Leafs the lead with 5 1/2 minutes remaining in the period.

Joffrey Lupul lost his handle on the puck to Moulson, and Ennis was wide open in front to tie it at 2-2 with just under 4 minutes left in the first. Lupul was benched for a stretch of the third period after some turnovers and a missed assignment and played just 13:09.

"There was two, three, four things that I didn't think was up to his standards," Horachek said. "I didn't think that he was on top of his game."

NOTES: Nazem Kadri was again a healthy scratch for the Leafs, who decided to extend the center's punishment to three games for a pattern of off-ice problems. Kadri missed a team meeting Sunday, and president Brendan Shanahan said Wednesday morning that the 24-year-old "needs to start making better decisions." ... Leafs D Stephane Robidas will have shoulder surgery Thursday.

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Photo Gallery:
PHOTO: Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Jonathan Bernier makes a glove save as Buffalo Sabres' Marcus Foligno (82) and Brian Gionta (12) look for a rebound and Maple Leafs' Morgan Rielly (44) defends during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Toronto, Wednesday, March 11, 2015. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Frank Gunn)
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