NHL Game Summary - Toronto at Buffalo|
(Friday, March 21st)
Final Score: Toronto 4, Buffalo 1
Buffalo, NY (Sports Network) - Jason Blake registered a goal and an assist, as
the Toronto Maple Leafs downed the Buffalo Sabres, 4-1, at HSBC Arena.
Anton Stralman and Matt Stajan also posted a goal and an assist for the Maple
Leafs, who have won four of their last five games. Vesa Toskala made 35 saves
for his 31st win of the season.
Thomas Vanek tallied the lone goal for the Sabres, who had won three straight
coming in. Ryan Miller allowed four goals on 24 shots in defeat.
"It's disappointing," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said about the loss. "I think we
definitely had our opportunities. We had some good looks. They blocked a lot
of shots on us. Toskala made a few good saves and then they blocked a lot of
shots. You put your best players out there and they've got to make plays. We
had a couple near misses, we had them down and out a couple of times and
missed a couple. It was probably the difference in the game."
Buffalo remains two points back of idle Boston for the eighth and final
playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Philadelphia edged New York in a
shootout to move into the seventh spot. Toronto trails the Bruins by five
points for the East's final postseason seed.
The visitors carried a 2-0 lead into the first intermission. Blake opened the
scoring on his third shot of the game when he accepted a drop pass from Alex
Steen in the slot and fired the puck behind Miller at the 8:39 mark.
"It was just a good play," Blake said about his goal. "It was a nice pass by
(Steen). I looked up and I shot it. It's nice to get that first goal, it's
nice to get a goal. We didn't look back from there."
While on a power play, Darcy Tucker jammed in a rebound at the right side of
the net to make it 2-0 with 7:45 remaining.
Buffalo made it a one-goal game 31 seconds into the second period, as Vanek
redirected Derek Roy's shot from the point in behind Toskala for his team-
leading 32nd goal of the season and 16th on the power play.
Stralman's first NHL marker restored a two-goal cushion at 8:27. Dominic Moore
won the draw cleanly and slipped it back to Stralman. The rookie defenseman
then shifted to the right point and snapped a soft wrister that made its way
through bodies and beat Miller high on the short side.
Stajan lit the lamp with 6:52 remaining in the third period to put the game
out of reach.
Before the game, Buffalo Sabres general manager Darcy Regier announced that
center Tim Connolly will have season-ending surgery to repair a nagging bone
spur in his hip...Vanek's tally was the 100th of his NHL career...The Leafs
played their third straight contest with captain and leading scorer Mats
Sundin, who is sidelined with a groin injury.
03/21 23:43:21 ET