NHL Game Summary - Toronto at Buffalo
(Thursday, October 30th)
Final Score: Buffalo 5, Toronto 3
Buffalo, NY (Sports Network) - Alexei Zhitnik and Ales Kotalik both registered a goal and an assist to lead the Buffalo Sabres to a 5-3 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs at HSBC Arena.
Miroslav Satan and Chris Drury also scored for Buffalo, which has captured four of its last five contests. Taylor Pyatt added an empty-net goal, while J.P. Dumont notched a pair of assists in the victory.
"It was just a really good game," said Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff.
Mika Noronen started in goal for the Sabres and stopped 18 of the 21 shots he faced.
Tie Domi, Tom Fitzgerald and Tomas Kaberle all scored in the losing effort for the Maple Leafs, who had earned at least a point in each of their last four games (3-0-0-1).
The Sabres snapped a 2-2 tie at 8:35 of the middle frame. With Toronto's Alexander Mogilny in the penalty box for high-sticking, Drury took a deflected cross-ice pass from Dumont and lit the lamp from the left circle for the 3-2 Buffalo lead.
Later in the second period, at 15:42, a one-timer from the point by Zhitnik was stopped by Ed Belfour, but Satan poked home the rebound as Buffalo opened a two-goal edge.
"I didn't see the puck between the pads, but I thought it must be there, so I gave it a real easy poke," said Satan. "I was lucky on that one."
With just over one minute remaining in the second, however, Toronto pulled within one. Mats Sundin emerged with the puck after a scrum behind the net and fed it in front to Kaberle, who tallied for the first time in 2003-04 and the Maple Leafs trailed 4-3 after 40 minutes of play.
The third period saw both teams produce quality scoring chances, but the score remained 4-3. The Maple Leafs then received a four-minute power play and skated with the man advantage for the final 3:11. With 50 seconds to play Belfour was pulled, but even with a 6-on-4 advantage, Toronto could not tie the score before Pyatt's empty-netter sealed the victory.
Belfour posted 31 saves in the contest.
"We let the second period get away on us after a good first period,"said Leafs head coach Pat Quinn. "We were trying to play like a bunch of individuals. It was certainly the way we didn't want to finish the game."
Buffalo took a 1-0 lead at 6:14 of the opening period. Dumont's strong forechecking poked the puck free and it was centered in front to Zhitnik, who blasted a slap shot from the low slot and beat Belfour up high.
Just over a minute later, Kotalik gave Buffalo a two-goal lead. He picked up the puck after a faceoff at the right circle, deked to his backhand and found the back of the net.
The Maple Leafs cut their deficit in half midway through the first period. Domi stayed in the offensive zone and, after an errant poke check, sent the disc to the right point. Bryan McCabe took control and fed a cutting Domi. The enforcer broke in all alone on Noronen, waited until the netminder went down and put the puck upstairs for his first goal of the season at 9:14.
Before the first period came to a close, Fitzgerald's one-timer from the slot evened the game with 4:27 to go.
Both teams finished 1-for-4 on the power play.
Toronto's Joe Nieuwendyk, with an assist in the game, extended his point streak to six games...Buffalo is now 8-1-2 in its last 11 home meetings with the Leafs...Also on Thursday, the Sabres sent center Domenic Pittis to Rochester of the American Hockey League...Satan's goal was his 200th as a Sabre. He is the 10th Buffalo player to record at least 200 goals in franchise history.
10/31 00:39:46 ET