Captain Jack Eichel collected two goals and an assist as the host Buffalo Sabres tallied four times in the second period in a 6-4 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday.
Casey Mittelstadt scored to snap a 16-game goal drought and rookie Victor Olofsson, Jimmy Vesey and Jeff Skinner also tallied for Buffalo, which received 25 saves from Linus Ullmark.
The Sabres, who snapped a five-game winless skid against the Maple Leafs, will vie for a sweep of the home-and-home series when the Atlantic Division rivals reconvene in Toronto on Saturday.
Captain John Tavares scored twice, Kasperi Kapanen added a goal and an assist and Dmytro Timashov also tallied for the Maple Leafs.
After Tavares staked Toronto to a 2-0 lead, Skinner halved the deficit at 5:45 of the second period, skating into a drop pass from Johan Larsson and wristing a shot past Michael Hutchinson (30 saves).
Eichel extended his point streak to eight games by scoring from the right circle just under four minutes later, and Mittelstadt deflected defenseman Marco Scandella's shot from the point past Hutchinson at 12:08 for his first goal since Oct. 19.
Eichel showed his patience with the puck before setting up Olofsson in the left circle to give Buffalo a 4-2 lead with 1:06 left in the second period. Olofsson's 10th goal of the season extended his point streak to six games.
Dmytro Timashov trimmed the deficit at 6:50 before Vesey answered just 1:44 later by taking advantage of a turnover in front of the Toronto net for his third goal in as many games.
Kapanen scored from in close with 7:50 remaining in the third period, but the Maple Leafs were unable to net the equalizer before Eichel found the empty net.
Rookie Ilya Mikheyev jumped on a loose puck in the high slot before sending a diagonal pass to Tavares, who wired the puck into the open net to begin the scoring with 1:06 remaining in the first period.
Tavares wasn't done, as he cleaned up his own rebound off the back boards by depositing the loose puck past Ullmark for his ninth goal of the season and third in two games.
--Field Level Media