Sabres 5, Maple Leafs 3

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP)—Five seems to be the lucky number these days for the Buffalo Sabres.

Miroslav Satan scored his 200th career goal with the Sabres and added an assist to lead Buffalo past the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-3 Thursday night.

Alexei Zhitnik and Ales Kotalik each had a goal and an assist as Buffalo scored five goals for the third time in five games and won for the fourth time in five.

“I think we’re getting an idea of what we can be,” Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. “The team has really played well offensively.”

Buffalo opened with two straight shutouts after finishing last season with a franchise-low 190 goals. But the Sabres have discovered their offense as of late with Satan leading the charge.

Satan banged a loose puck past Toronto goaltender Ed Belfour for his fifth goal, putting Buffalo ahead for good at 15:42 of the second period. It was Satan’s first even-strength goal in becoming just the 10th player in franchise history to reach 200 goals.

After jumping out to a 2-0 lead following goals by Zhitnik and Kotalik 77 seconds apart, the Leafs tied it at 2 with goals by Tie Domi and Tom Fitzgerald to end the first period.

But the Sabres got goals from Chris Drury and Satan in the second period, registering a season-high 18 shots while holding Toronto to five. The Leafs took nearly 12 minutes to record their first shot of the period.

Drury’s goal was his second in three games.

“We had a good start and got the lead but we gave it up,” Satan said. “After the first we just wanted to have a good start to the second and that’s what happened. We had a lot of chances and scored some goals.”

Tomas Kaberle finished the scoring in the second for the Maple Leafs, who lost their second straight.

“We made it a 2-2 game so you’d think going into the second period that we had a pretty good momentum swing,” Fitzgerald said. “Maybe we rested on our laurels. We found out that when you give up that many shots in a period you’re probably going to find yourself down.”

Buffalo played the last 3:11 short-handed after Satan took a double minor for holding the stick and unsportsmanlike conduct. Toronto pulled Belfour for a 6-on-4 advantage with less than a minute to go but Taylor Pyatt was pulled down from behind during a breakaway at 19:33. Since there was no goalie, Pyatt was given credit for a goal rather than taking a penalty shot.

Toronto fell to 2-11-3 in the regular season at HSBC Arena despite skipping their morning skate in an effort to change their misfortune in Buffalo. The Maple Leafs made the 90-minute bus ride from Toronto instead and stayed at a hotel until heading to the arena.

“Sometimes I’m not sure it’s luck,” Toronto coach Pat Quinn said. “We let the second period get away from us after a good first period.”

The Maple Leafs were without Nik Antropov, who separated his shoulder Monday against Atlanta. He is scheduled to be examined again on Saturday to determine if he needs surgery. He will be out, regardless, until at least December.

Owen Nolan, a natural left wing, replaced Antropov on the right side of the top line, next to Mats Sundin and Alexander Mogilny. Nolan and Sundin each had an assist.

“We made some mental errors late in the game, which we seem to be doing lately,” Quinn said.

Toronto lost Monday in overtime to Atlanta, blowing a 2-0 lead midway through the third period.

Sabres goaltender Mika Noronen earned his second win of the season and firstcareer victory over Toronto by stopping 18 shots.

Notes

The Sabres activated forward Eric Boulton off the injured list and reassigned forward Domenic Pittis to Rochester of the AHL before the game. Boulton missed 10 games after breaking his thumb in a fight during training camp. … Toronto RW Mikael Renberg missed his third game due to a chest injury. … Satan has 18 assists against Toronto, his most against any team. … Toronto C Joe Nieuwendyk extended his point streak to six games with an assist on Fitzgerald’s goal. … Buffalo D Andy Delmore was scratched for thefirst time this season. He has no points in 10 games.

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Three Stars

  Game Winning Goal
M. Satan M. Satan
Buffalo Sabres
Scored at 15:42 of 2nd

Goaltending

Goalie Team Shot Save
Mika Noronen Van 21 18