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The Buffalo Sabres look to continue their success against the injury-riddled and struggling Toronto Maple Leafs as the Northeast Division rivals meet at HSBC Arena on Thursday.
Buffalo (31-9-3) is 8-2-1 against Toronto since the start of the 2005-06 season and has won two of the three games between the teams this season. After a 4-1 loss to Toronto on Nov. 4, the Sabres have won the last two games and posted a 4-3 road victory Saturday as Chris Drury, Ales Kotalik and Daniel Briere each had a goal and an assist.
That loss was the first of consecutive home losses for the Leafs (19-19-6), who were booed off the ice after allowing four unanswered goals in a 4-1 setback to the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday. The defeat also delivered another injury as defenseman Ian White suffered a shoulder injury in the second period.
White joined leading goal-scorer Darcy Tucker (left foot injury), Michael Peca (broken tibial plateau), Alexei Ponikarovsky (separated shoulder), Kyle Wellwood (pulled groin) and Nik Antropov (ankle injury) among the team's injured regulars as the Leafs begin a stretch where they play nine of their next 11 on the road.
"There's no question we've had our share," Maple Leafs coach Paul Maurice said. "It gets to the point where you run guys so hard you're almost creating them.
"Ian has become an important part of our team."
The Sabres improved to 7-2-1 in its last 10 games Wednesday with a 2-1 victory at Chicago on goals by Jochen Hecht and Maxim Afinogenov. With 65 points, Buffalo shares the NHL lead with Anaheim, and it leads fourth-place Toronto by 21 points in the Northeast.
Ryan Miller, who had 34 saves against the Blackhawks, bounced back from losses in his previous two games in which he allowed nine goals. He came 49.1 seconds shy of his second shutout before Denis Arkhipov took a shot that hit the post and Miller's pads before crossing the goal line.
"I'm saving them for later," Miller said of the lost shutout, "but it was a little frustrating with them scoring late in the game. It was a 2-0 game and gave them life.
"They had a few opportunities, but we did a good job of making them do the things they didn't want to do. We did play a good defensive game and played a frustrating style against them and it paid off."
Miller is 5-1 with a 2.21 GAA in five home starts against the Leafs, but the loss came in the last meeting there.
The Sabres had a scare in the first period when Drury left the game after he was struck in the foot by a shot from teammate Jaroslav Spacek and then cross-checked by Chicago's Duncan Keith.
Drury, who shares the team lead with 22 goals, was helped off the ice and went to the locker room before returning in the second period.
"It says a lot about him that he could come back and play," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. "He had an X-ray and they looked negative. The good sign is he finished the game."
The Sabres have an NHL-high 166 goals,while Toronto's 148 allowed is better than only Philadelphia (165) in the East.
The Leafs claimed 36-year-old center Travis Green off waivers from Anaheim on Wednesday. The 14-year veteran spent two seasons with Toronto, totaling 23 goals and 35 assists in 157 games from 2001-03.
Green had one goal and one assist in seven games with the Ducks this season after getting 10 goals and 12 assists in all 82 games with Boston in 2005-06.