NHL Game Summary - Buffalo at Toronto
(Wednesday, April 8th)
Final Score: Buffalo 3, Toronto 1
Toronto, ON (Sports Network) - Thomas Vanek and Paul Gaustad scored less than 30 seconds apart in the third period, leading Buffalo past Toronto, 3-1, at Air Canada Centre.
Jason Pominville added a goal and assist and Ryan Miller stopped 32 shots in the victory for the Sabres, who had lost three of four coming in and kept their flickering playoff hopes alive.
Buffalo moved to 87 points, four behind the idle Rangers who occupy the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference, with just two games remaining for both clubs as well as idle Florida, which is in ninth place with 89 points.
The Sabres finish their regular-season slate with games at Carolina on Thursday and hosting Boston on Saturday.
"For the first time in a long time, we held an opponent to one goal. We have to do this in the final two games if we are to have any chance," said Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff. "I'm not letting out any secrets. We're not that good on offense, and we have to give Ryan a lot of support."
Jeff Finger notched the lone score for the Maple Leafs, who dropped their third contest in four. Curtis Joseph made 26 saves in defeat.
Buffalo assumed a 2-1 edge 8:08 into the third period. An ill-advised cross- ice clear from a Leafs defenseman found Pominville instead at the left-wing boards. He dished to the right wing for Vanek, who made several dekes before beating Joseph for his 38th goal of the season.
The visitors went up by two just 26 seconds later, as Gaustad picked up Adam Mair's rebound and slid it home at the right post.
Joseph was pulled for an extra skater with more than two minutes remaining in regulation, but the Sabres still controlled play until the buzzer.
"We let down for a couple of seconds, they jumped on us and that was the game," said Leafs forward Brad May.
Finger put the Leafs on the board late in the first period with a blast from the right circle, and Pominville equalized on a Sabres power play 1:50 into the second.
Buffalo won five of the six meetings this season and have taken nine of the last 11 dating back to last season...May was honored by the team for playing in his 1,000th career game. May also played in Buffalo from 1991-98.
04/08 23:15:41 ET