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Tucker, Raycroft help Maple Leafs rebound vs. Sabres

Mar 25, 2007 - 4:29 AM
TORONTO (Ticker) -- One day after rallying from a three-goal deficit in the third period, the Buffalo Sabres found themselves in a similar position. This time, Andrew Raycroft and the Toronto Maple Leafs did not falter.

Darcy Tucker scored a pair of goals and Raycroft made 19 saves as the Maple Leafs avenged a heartbreaking loss to the Sabres with a 4-1 victory.

Nik Antropov had a goal and an assist and defenseman Bryan McCabe and Kyle Wellwood each set up two tallies for Toronto (36-29-10), which remained two points out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

"We can't concern ourselves with that," Tucker said. "There's nothing we can do to control what other teams do. We've got a chance, and that's all that matters to us."

"We could have caved in December, we could have caved in January," Raycroft added. "We kept getting injured. We had six or seven guys out of the lineup at the same time, but we've proven through the whole year that we're not going away."

On Friday, the Maple Leafs grabbed a 4-1 lead over the Sabres when Boyd Devereaux scored less than four minutes into the third period, only to watch Buffalo net four goals in an 8:25 span to come away with the victory.

Toronto experienced some deja vu Saturday when Antropov scored his 17th goal at 5:04 of the final period, creating a 4-1 advantage. However, there was no magical comeback for the Sabres, as Raycroft turned aside all nine shots he faced in the period to secure the win.

"It's unfortunate we have to even answer questions about keeping a three-goal lead in the third, but I guess it's better than talking about losing one again," Raycroft said. "It's nice to make the saves. It's one of those nights where we do a great job down low."

"The important part of last night is that we left it in Buffalo," Maple Leafs coach Paul Maurice said. "That was a tough loss last night. If you had any questions about the commitment of our room and how bad they wanted it, I mean, they're gone. They wired themselves back up and played a (heck) of a game."

Tucker netting his team-leading 15th power-play tally 3 1/2 minutes into the contest and completing his sixth two-goal effort at 1:45 of the second to give Toronto a 2-1 edge.

"I'm pretty proud of the guys," Tucker said. "We've got a lot of character and I believe that we've got a really good hockey club. Our coach wants us to compete, and if you don't compete, you just don't play. That's the way it is on our team."

Defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo also scored for the Maple Leafs, who completed the season series against the Sabres with a 3-5-0 record.

Jochen Hecht had the lone goal for Buffalo (48-20-7), which saw its lead over second-place Ottawa (45-23-8) in the Northeast Division reduced to five points.

"The other team was ready to play tonight and we weren't," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. "I thought we were frustrated last night, too. We didn't handle some situations very well, but you've got to give Toronto credit. They were on top of the puck most of the time, they had us under pressure a lot."

With Sabres defenseman Dmitri Kalinin in the penalty box for hooking, Tucker beat goaltender Ryan Miller with a snap shot from the right faceoff circle at 3:28 of the first for a 1-0 lead.

Hecht drew Buffalo even on a bad-angle shot from the left circle with 63 seconds left in the period, but Tucker put Toronto ahead for good early in the middle session, when he fired a wrist shot over Miller's left shoulder for his 24th of the season.

Colaiacovo chased Miller at 3:34 of the second, beating the netminder to the glove side with a wrister from the high slot.

"I went to step out and they had a guy in front of me, so I tried to stay where I was and he'd already shot it," Miller said.

Antropov capped the scoring just over five minutes into the third, when he tipped McCabe's one-timer from the left point by goalie Ty Conklin.

Miller allowed three goals on 21 shots and Conklin made 13 saves for Buffalo, which failed to notch at least one point for the first time in seven games (4-1-2).

"I just think Toronto paid better attention," Miller said. "Last night, they sat back, and tonight, they didn't sit back as much. They skated a little bit more in the third period and we didn't generate much."








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    BUFFALO 1 0 0 1
    TORONTO 1 2 1 4 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: TOR - (PP) DARCY TUCKER 23 (KYLE WELLWOOD, BRYAN MCCABE)
    3:28
    BUF - JOCHEN HECHT 17 (CLARKE MACARTHUR, ADAM MAIR) 18:57
    2ND PRD: TOR - DARCY TUCKER 24 (KYLE WELLWOOD, NIK ANTROPOV) 1:45
    TOR - CARLO COLAIACOVO 6 (BOYD

    Mar 24 9:32 PM


  • NHL
    BUFFALO 1
    TORONTO 4
    3RD PRD: TOR - NIK ANTROPOV 17 (BRYAN MCCABE, ALEXEI PONIKAROVSKY)
    5:04

    Sabres vs. Maple LeafsMar 24 9:08 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    BUFFALO 1 0 1
    TORONTO 1 2 3 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: TOR - (PP) DARCY TUCKER 23 (KYLE WELLWOOD, BRYAN MCCABE)
    3:28
    BUF - JOCHEN HECHT 17 (CLARKE MACARTHUR, ADAM MAIR) 18:57
    2ND PRD: TOR - DARCY TUCKER 24 (KYLE WELLWOOD, NIK ANTROPOV) 1:45
    TOR - CARLO COLAI

    Mar 24 8:40 PM


  • NHL
    BUFFALO 1
    TORONTO 3
    2ND PRD: TOR - CARLO COLAIACOVO 6 (BOYD DEVEREAUX, MATT STAJAN) 3:34

    Sabres vs. Maple LeafsMar 24 8:09 PM


  • NHL
    BUFFALO 1
    TORONTO 2
    2ND PRD: TOR - DARCY TUCKER 24 (KYLE WELLWOOD, NIK ANTROPOV) 1:45

    Sabres vs. Maple LeafsMar 24 8:05 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    BUFFALO 1 1
    TORONTO 1 1 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: TOR - (PP) DARCY TUCKER 23 (KYLE WELLWOOD, BRYAN MCCABE)
    3:28
    BUF - JOCHEN HECHT 17 (CLARKE MACARTHUR, ADAM MAIR) 18:57
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    BUF 4

    Mar 24 7:44 PM


  • NHL
    BUFFALO 1
    TORONTO 1
    1ST PRD: BUF - JOCHEN HECHT 17 (CLARKE MACARTHUR, ADAM MAIR) 18:57

    Sabres vs. Maple LeafsMar 24 7:43 PM


  • NHL
    BUFFALO 0
    TORONTO 1
    1ST PRD: TOR - (PP) DARCY TUCKER 23 (KYLE WELLWOOD, BRYAN MCCABE) 3:28

    Sabres vs. Maple LeafsMar 24 7:16 PM