Sabres 3, Maple Leafs 1
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Buffalo coach Ted Nolan had a successful return Friday night when the Sabres defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-1.
Left winger Marcus Foligno, center Steve Ott and defenseman Christian Ehrhoff scored for Buffalo (5-15-1), which won back-to-back games for the first time this season. Goaltender Ryan Miller also made 32 saves.
The biggest save of the night came from Ehrhoff, who stopped Toronto left winger James van Riemsdyk from hitting an open net with 44 seconds remaining. With the Sabres clinging to a 2-1 advantage, Ehrhoff blocked van Rimesdyk's shot from inside the left circle.
Ehrhoff then iced the game for Buffalo moments later by scoring an empty-net goal with 28 seconds remaining.
It was Nolan's first game behind the Buffalo bench in almost 17 years. He was named Buffalo's interim head coach Wednesday after the team fired general manager Darcy Regier and coach Ron Rolston.
Center Trevor Smith scored for the Maple Leafs (11-7-1) and goaltender Jonathan Bernier made 24 saves for Toronto.
Foligno scored the winning goal with 4:38 left in the second by finishing a blistering rush up ice. Right winger Drew Stafford's cross ice pass found Ott streaking down the left side of the ice, and Foligno deftly finished the 2-on-1 opportunity with a backhand past Bernier.
Ott got Buffalo on the board just under halfway through the second period on the power play. The Sabres captain pounced on a rebound from a defenseman Tyler Myers blast and deposited it into the net 9:45 into the second to tie the game at 1.
It was only the third time this season Buffalo entered the third period with a lead.
Smith opened the scoring 6:25 into the second period after his slap shot deflected off Ehrhoff and into the net to give Toronto a 1-0 lead.
NOTES: New interim coach Ted Nolan, who first coached the Sabres from 1995-97 and won the Jack Adams Award as the league's best coach, received a rousing welcome from the Sabres faithful when he was introduced prior to the start of the game. ... Eight years ago to the day, Pat LaFontaine was inducted into the Sabres Hall of Fame. LaFontaine was named Buffalo's president of hockey operations on Wednesday. ... LW Johan Larsson, C Mikhail Grigorenko and D Nikita Zadorov were scratched for the Sabres. ... RW Troy Bodie, C Nazem Kadri and D Morgan Rielly were scratched for the Maple Leafs. ... Heading into Friday night's game, the Sabres had not lost the home portion of a home-and-home series with Toronto since the first home-and-home series ever between the two teams (a 4-2 defeat on Dec. 20, 1970). ... This was the first of five meetings between the teams this season and the 189th game all time between Buffalo and Toronto. Heading into Friday night, Buffalo led the series with a 104-61-23 record.