for this game

Leafs down Sabres behind Gustavsson's shutout

Jan 11, 2012 - 5:34 AM
Toronto, ON (Sports Network) - Jonas Gustavsson stopped all 32 shots fired his way for his third career shutout and second of the season, as the Toronto Maple Leafs took down the Buffalo Sabres, 2-0, at Air Canada Centre.

Nikolai Kulemin finished with a goal and an assist, while Mikhail Grabovski also lit the lamp for the Maple Leafs, who have won four consecutive games.

"He's been healthy the whole season and naturally his confidence has grown," Maple Leafs head coach Ron Wilson said of his netminder. "He had a great November, didn't play much in December, but he's come in this month and done very well. He's confident and making key saves when we need him."

Ryan Miller was tagged with both goals on 28 shots in defeat for the Sabres, who have lost three straight games.

Toronto opened the scoring at 8:22 of the first period on the power play when Cody Franson fired a shot from the right point that was stopped by Miller, but Kulemin corralled the rebound and poked it past the Sabres' netminder to give his team the 1-0 lead.

The Leafs extended their lead to 2-0 at 17:55 of the first period with some excellent passing out of the defensive zone. Kulemin accepted a pass in the neutral zone from Joey Crabb and backhanded one off the legs of two Sabres' defensemen before the puck made its way to Grabovski, who went to his backhand and lifted the puck over the left shoulder of Miller from the right circle

Buffalo got eight shots on net in the second period, and 14 in the third frame, but was ultimately unable to beat Gustavsson.

The Sabers pulled Miller with under two minutes to play in regulation in hopes of at least getting one goal on the board, but Gustavsson stood tall and preserved the shutout.

Buffalo was shut out for just the second time this season.

"I thought our execution early on wasn't that good," Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff said. "We missed a few passes, some of them were errant and obviously taking the penalty hurt us."

Game Notes

Toronto has won five of the last six meetings between the teams...Sabres' forward Thomas Vanek left the game in the second period with an upper-body injury...Buffalo did not have any power-play opportunities, while the Maple Leafs went 1-for-4 with the man advantage...These two teams will complete the back end of a home-and-home series in Buffalo on Friday.