for this game

Briere's two goals lift Sabres over Maple Leafs

Nov 23, 2006 - 2:54 AM BUFFALO, New York (Ticker) -- Daniel Briere and the Buffalo Sabres have won a lot of games this season and have consistently done it the hard way.

Briere scored two goals and added an assist to lift the Sabres to a 7-4 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs in a battle of the top clubs in the Eastern Conference.

Of their league-leading 18 wins, seven have come when the Sabres have trailed by at least two goals. Buffalo trailed, 2-0, in the first four minutes.

"We certainly do believe that we can come back," Briere said. "There's a lot of frustration being down 2-0 in the first five minutes of the game. Frustration at ourselves, but at the same time, we believe we can come back.

"That's the nice thing, we've done it a few times this year. Believing is the first major step, and we have that on our side right now."

Briere netted the game-winner when he took a pass from Daniel Paille and beat goaltender Andrew Raycroft from close range with 5:19 remaining, giving Buffalo a 5-4 lead.

"Raycroft stopped (Jason) Pominville's shot and then he slipped to cover Danny Paille," Briere said. "When he (Raycroft) slipped, he was diving the other way. It's a tough play for him. I saw that and just tried to put it on net."

Maxim Afinogenov, Jiri Novotny, defenseman Brian Campbell, Jason Pominville and Paille scored the other goals for Buffalo (18-3-1), which has a league-high 101 goals in 22 games.

The Sabres also showed their explosiveness Monday when they scored seven goals in the second period of a 7-2 thrashing of Tampa Bay.

Darcy Tucker scored two goals and Kyle Wellwood and Jeff O'Neill also tallied for the Maple Leafs (12-7-4). Tucker has 15 goals this season, including a league-leading 11 on the power play.

The Sabres were 2-for-9 on the power play while the Leafs were 2-for-7 with the extra skater.

"It was like a team practice out there," O'Neill said of the officiating. "It was both ways. It wasn't much of a game. There was some good intensity, but way too many penalties on both sides."

"I think it had the making to be a good game," Toronto's Michael Peca said. "I think the officiating prevented us from breaking out a little bit. I think as the game went on it was a little inconsistent. Everybody's was getting a little upset about it. I think both teams in the end did a good job of putting it behind us and just playing."

The Sabres got a measure of revenge on the Leafs, who handed them their first regulation loss, a 4-1 decision November 4 after Buffalo started 11-0-1.

"It was something that we did mention," Pominville said. "It was in the back of our minds. We always know when we play them it's high intensity games. It's really fun to be a part of."

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