James van Riemsdyk scored two goals to lead the Maple Leafs past the Buffalo Sabres, 3-1, in Toronto Thursday night, spoiling the NHL head coaching debut of Ron Rolston.
Rolston, who until Wednesday was the head coach of the AHL’s Rochester Americans, was hired as the Sabres interim coach following the club’s decision to fire Lindy Ruff. Ruff, who also played 10 seasons for Buffalo, had been behind the club’s bench since 1997 and was the NHL’s longest-tenured head coach.
But the Sabres, who have dropped three straight and five of six, were booed off the ice following Tuesday’s loss to Winnipeg.
Van Riemsdyk’s power-play goal at 14:28 of the third — his team-leading 11th — gave Toronto breathing room after Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller stopped Van Riemsdyk with a fabulous glove save earlier on the power play.
Islanders 4, Canadiens 3 — Rookie defenseman Thomas Hickey scored in overtime for his first NHL goal, and New York rallied to snap host Montreal’s six-game winning streak.
Matt Moulson scored twice and Frans Nielsen added a goal in the third period for Islanders (7-9-1), who trailed 2-0 and 3-1 but came back to end a two-game slide and win for the third time in 10 games.
Max Pacioretty had two goals, and Travis Moen added one for the Canadiens (11-5-2).
Senators 3, Rangers 2 — Kaspars Daugavins scored in the seventh round of the shootout and backup goalie Ben Bishop picked up the victory in relief of injured starter Craig Anderson and host Ottawa defeated New York.
The Senators lost Anderson at 1:43 of the third period after Rangers forward Chris Kreider was tripped in front and slid into him.
Blue Jackets 3, Red Wings 2 — Vinny Prospal scored with 24.7 seconds left, capping a comeback that lifted Columbus in Detroit.
Damien Brunner and Valtteri Filppula scored in the first two-plus minutes of the game to put the Red Wings ahead by two.
Jets 4, Hurricanes 3 — Blake Wheeler scored his second goal of the game with 4:54 remaining to lift Winnipeg to victory in Raleigh, N.C.
Devils 3, Capitals 2 — Ilya Kovalchuk scored the tiebreaking goal on a five-on-three power play with about 8½ minutes left to complete New Jersey’s comeback victory over host Washington, which has yet to beat any of the Eastern Conference’s elite teams.
Canucks 4, Stars 3 — Jason Garrison and Henrik Sedin scored third-period goals to help lead Vancouver’s victory in Dallas.
Wild 3, Oilers 1 — Matt Cullen had two goals and an assist to lift Minnesota in Edmonton, Alberta for its second straight win.
Panthers 5, Flyers 2 — Jonathan Huberdeau and Peter Mueller each had two goals to help visiting Florida snap a five-game losing streak.