for this game

Sabres split home-and-home with Leafs

Jan 14, 2012 - 6:32 AM
Buffalo, NY (Sports Network) - Jason Pominville scored the game-winning goal in the second period as the Buffalo Sabres topped the Toronto Maple Leafs, 3-2 at First Niagara Center to earn a split of a home-and-home series between the teams.

Paul Gaustad finished with a goal and an assist, while Matt Ellis also scored and Patrick Kaleta added a pair of assists for the Sabres, who snapped a three-game losing streak. Ryan Miller was strong in net, making 24 saves on 26 shots in the victory.

"That was a good, hard game," Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff said. "I thought we really got the short end of the stick on some of the calls, but we battled through it."

Mikhail Grabovski contributed a goal and an assist and Joey Crabb lit the lamp for the Maple Leafs, who had a four-game winning streak halted. Jonas Gustavsson stopped 22-of-25 shots in the loss for Toronto.

Buffalo took the lead for good with 5:47 left in the second period when Thomas Vanek chased down a loose puck in the right corner and feathered a pass to Pominville, who ripped it into the net from the slot after controlling the pass with his skate.

"I didn't really see the pass because a guy was screening me," said Gustavsson. "It was a quick play and sometimes you are going to get beat by that."

The Leafs pulled Gustavsson with 1:07 to go in regulation, and got some quality scoring chances on net, but Miller held his ground.

The Sabres opened the scoring just 1:05 into the game when Gaustad hustled after a dump-in in the right corner, warded off a defender and found Ellis, who tapped it into the empty net from in front.

Buffalo then extended its lead just 2:48 later with a little luck when Gaustad moved into the offensive zone on the rush and fired a quick wrister on net that looked like an easy save, but the puck sailed past the glove of Gustavsson.

The Leafs cut the lead to 2-1 at 14:06 of the first stanza when Luke Schenn fired a slap shot on net from the right point that was tipped past a screened Miller by Grabovski.

Toronto then knotted the game at two at 16:52 of the opening frame as a result of a sloppy giveaway. Sabres defenseman Mike Weber skated back into his own zone with the puck, but lost an edge and went tumbling to the ice, leaving the puck in the slot and Crabb was there to clean up and put it into the net.

Game Notes

Buffalo leads the all-time series between the teams, 101-59-22...All seven of Crabb's goals this season have come on the road...Toronto failed to convert on four power play opportunities, while Buffalo was 0-for-2 with the man advantage...Toronto will host the Eastern Conference-leading New York Rangers on Saturday, while the Sabres will visit the New York Islanders, also on Saturday.