Maple Leafs 3, Sabres 1By The Sports Xchange | The SportsXchange – Thu, Feb 21, 2013 10:01 PM EST
TORONTO -- James van Riemsdyk scored two goals to lead the Toronto Maple Leafs to 3-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday before a crowd of 19,473 at Air Canada Centre. It was the first game for the Sabres under interim coach Ron Rolston, who took over after Lindy Ruff was fired Wednesday. Dion Phaneuf also scored for Toronto, the 100th goal of the defenseman's career. Tyler Ennis scored for the Sabres to give them a first-period lead. Ben Scrivens, making his fifth consecutive start in the Toronto goal, stopped all but one of 32 shots. Ryan Miller stopped 33 of 36 shots in the Sabres' goal. The Maple Leafs took a 2-1 lead into the third and Mikhail Grabovski nearly added to it in the first nine seconds when he forced Miller to make a save on his 36-foot wrist shot. There were a couple of third-period skirmishes, with Buffalo's John Scott and Toronto's Frazer McLaren getting five-minute majors at 3:07. Phaneuf and Buffalo's Nathan Gerbe took roughing minors 1:35 later. The Leafs used a two-man advantage to get van Riemsdyk his second goal of the game and his 11th of the season at 14:28. The goal came after Jochen Hecht put the puck over the glass for a delay-of-game penalty while trying to kill Kevin Porter's tripping penalty at 12:36. Miller was removed from goal with more than two minutes remaining for an extra attacker, but Phil Kessel missed a chance at the open goal. The Maple Leafs (11-7-0) opened the second period on the power play and took advantage of it to tie the game 1-1 at 1:14 when Phaneuf skated in from the point to snap home a 48-footer after taking a pass from Kessel. It was Phaneuf's third goal of the season. The Sabres (6-11-1) put the puck in the net at 7:08, but it was disallowed and Porter was penalized for goaltender interference. Kessel set up Toronto's second goal at 18:04 of the second. He skated down the right wing and slipped the puck adeptly past defenseman Alexander Sulzer to van Riemsdyk, who directed the puck home from the edge of the crease. Toronto had a 25-19 advantage in shots after two periods. Both goaltenders were tested early in the game and Buffalo's Cody Hodgson shot at an open net about midway through the first period, only to have the puck deflected wide by a stick. The Sabres finally broke through at 13:20 when Ennis took a pass from Drew Stafford near the blue line, skated in unimpeded on the right wing and flicked a wrist shot from the edge of the faceoff circle into the upper-left corner. It was his sixth goal of the season. Buffalo outshot Toronto 12-10 in the first period. NOTES: Sabres captain Jason Pominville and forward Thomas Vanek had never played in the NHL for anyone but Ruff, who had been Buffalo's coach for more than 15 years. "Obviously, he got fired because of us," Vanek said after the morning skate at ACC. "He didn't quit on us, but we didn't produce wins and ultimately it cost him his job. We have to move forward and get beyond it." ... Maple Leafs goaltender James Reimer (sprained left knee) skated briefly with the team Thursday and is expected to start practicing with his teammates this weekend. Coach Randy Carlyle said Reimer is "progressing" but did not offer an estimate on when he might return to the lineup. Reimer injured the knee Feb. 11 against the Philadelphia Flyers. ... Leafs forward Colton Orr (lower body) left the morning skate early and was scratched from Thursday's game. ... The Leafs visit the Ottawa Senators on Saturday while the Sabres are home against the New York Islanders.
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