NHL Game Summary - Buffalo at Toronto
(Saturday, January 19th)
Final Score: Toronto 4, Buffalo 2
Toronto, ON (Sports Network) - Nik Antropov had a goal and an assist as the Toronto Maple Leafs scored the game's first three goals and held on to down the Buffalo Sabres, 4-2, at Air Canada Centre.
Alex Steen had a goal and an assist for the Leafs, and Vesa Toskala made 26 saves as Toronto won its third straight game. Alexei Ponikarovsky and Jason Blake each added goals for the Leafs.
Daniel Paille and Jochen Hecht each lit the lamp for Buffalo, which lost for the 11th time in their last 12 games. The Sabres managed just two goals one night after giving the Atlanta Thrashers a 10-1 drubbing that saw two players record hat tricks. Ryan Miller made 19 saves in the loss.
Toronto opened the scoring early on the power play. Steen fired a pass across the ice to Mats Sundin, Sundin found Antropov on the backdoor, and Antropov stuffed the puck behind Miller to give the Leafs a 1-0 lead just 2:05 into the first period.
The second period began almost exactly the same as the first. Again working with the man advantage, Steen worked his way free from behind the net, faked a pass to Sundin and slid the puck between the legs of defenseman Brian Campbell and past Miller to score just 34 seconds into the frame.
"We just couldn't get ourselves right from the start," said Sabres forward Derek Roy. "We were on the penalty kill early in the first two periods, and we just didn't get enough shots on (Toskala), and we had to get shots on him to win."
The game was broken open two minutes later, as Hal Gill fired a pass to Ponikarovsky, who took off with a burst of speed, found himself alone on a breakaway and rifled a shot into the net for a 3-0 Toronto lead.
Buffalo finally broke through with 6:44 remaining in the second. Campbell slipped a backhand pass to Clarke MacArthur, who tipped the puck to Jochen Hecht as he was streaking into the right circle, and Hecht wound up and blasted a shot past Toskala to make it a 3-1 contest heading into the final period.
The Sabres made it a 3-2 game with exactly 11 minutes remaining in the third. Paul Gaustad found Paille wide open in the slot, and Paille drilled a one- timer past Toskala to trim the gap to one.
But, Blake pushed the lead to 4-2 less than five minutes later, starting a two-on-one rush, faking out the Sabres defense and firing a wrist shot past Miller for a two goal cushion with 6:46 remaining.
"I've had a tough go of it early on this season, but I've been trying to plug away," Blake said. "I'm just trying to do the things I did in the past to have success."
Buffalo had a chance to close the gap late, but Dmitri Kalinin's slap shot hit the crossbar with 1:07 remaining as Toronto held on for the win.
Ian White tallied two assists in the win for the Leafs...Toronto won despite being outshot 28-23...Toronto converted on 2-of-5 power play opportunities, Buffalo did not convert on either of its two power plays...Antropov's goal was his 18th of the season, tying a career high set last season...Buffalo fell to 5-7-0 in the second end of back-to-back games with the loss.
01/19 22:02:52 ET