|TOR||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||0|
|BUF||2||2||2||(0 - 0)||6|
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - Ryan Miller provided the one thing missing in a season in which the playoff-bound Buffalo Sabres have already set a franchise record for victories.
With win No. 51, Miller made 31 saves to record his and the team's first shutout of the year in a 6-0 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday.
"It wasn't real high on my list," Miller said, of recording only his second career NHL shutout. "But with the success we've had, it is a little bonus on top. Just trying to get tuned up ready to go."
The Sabres, locked into fourth place in the Eastern Conference, still don't know who their first-round opponent will be when the playoffs open next weekend. What's become clear is Miller putting aside questions of his preparedness, the rookie winning his fourth straight start after a 1-5-1 slump.
Just what coach Lindy Ruff needed to see.
"I think his game has come around," Ruff said. "Going into the playoffs, you have to have good saves, and today we got good saves."
Miller's performance was complemented by an offense that has suddenly regained its groove.
Chris Drury scored twice and Brian Campbell had a goal and two assists in Buffalo's regular-season home finale. Paul Gaustad added a goal and assist, while Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville also scored.
The Maple Leafs lost in regulation for the first time in 11 games (8-1-2), coming out flat a day after being eliminated from playoff contention. Leafs captain Mats Sundin had an 11-game point streak snapped, and Toronto finished 0-4 at Buffalo this season.
"It was disappointing how last night ended up," Sundin said. "Still, we should have had a better effort than we did tonight."
Added coach Pat Quinn: "We had a lot of guys that wanted to play easy tonight."
Buffalo took control early, scoring goals on consecutive shots to take a 2-0 lead 3 minutes in.
Campbell scored when his point shot knuckled over Mikael Tellqvist's right shoulder. Drury scored on a power play when he drove out of the left corner and, as he was tripped, wrapped a shot around Tellqvist inside the far post.
With Drury's goal, the Sabres set a franchise record by scoring at least one power-play goal in 60 games. The previous record of 59 games was set in 1991-92.
Gaustad and Pominville then scored on consecutive shots 39 seconds apart late in the second period. Drury and Vanek completed the surge with third-period goals.
Miller did the rest, particularly sharp in the second period when he stopped 16 shots.
Among Miller's best stops came when he held his ground to foil Jeff O'Neill, who was set up in front by Matt Stajan. He was also fortunate when Kyle Wellwood backhanded a shot through the crease, the puck dribbling along the goal line behind Miller. Gaustad then tied up Darcy Tucker, preventing the forward from getting to the loose puck.
"He owes me a meal or something," Gaustad said, laughing. "No, he's played solid all year long. It's good for him that he got the shutout. I'm happy for him."
The game became somewhat chippy in the final period. Leafs' tough guy Tie Domi was ejected for being the aggressor in a fight with Jay McKee.
Buffalo's Andrew Peters received a 10-minute misconduct after he made a golf swing-type gesture toward the Leafs bench with 5 minutes left.
"It was disrespectful," Leafs defenseman Wade Belak said. "You don't need to do that. But it was nice to see the referee take action."
Peters said he apologized to his teammates and Sabres owner B. Thomas Golisano.
"That wasn't something I was very proud of," Peters said. "It was just stupid. I got caught up in the moment."
Notes: Colorado is now the only team not to record a shutout so far this season. ... Sabres RW Maxim Afinogenov had two assists to extend his point streak to seven games. He has three goals and 11 assists over that stretch. ... Leafs C Nik Antropov did not return after limping to the dressing room with 4 minutes left in the first period.
|Brian Campbell (11) Slapshot - ASST: Tim Connolly (38)|
1 - 0 BUF
|PPG - Chris Drury (28) Wrist shot - ASST: Daniel Brière (31), Brian Campbell (31)|
2 - 0 BUF
|Paul Gaustad (9) Wrist shot - ASST: Maxim Afinogenov (49), Brian Campbell (32)|
3 - 0 BUF
|Jason Pominville (18) Snap shot - ASST: Dmitri Kalinin (16), Paul Gaustad (15)|
4 - 0 BUF
|PPG - Chris Drury (29) Snap shot - ASST: J-P Dumont (20), Maxim Afinogenov (50)|
5 - 0 BUF
|Thomas Vanek (25) Snap shot - ASST: Tim Connolly (39), Ales Kotalik (37)|
6 - 0 BUF
|Jeff O'Neill Slashing against Tim Connolly|
|Alexander Steen Cross checking against Thomas Vanek|
|Andrew Peters Hooking against Matt Stajan|
|Ian White Slashing against Derek Roy|
|Jay McKee Holding against Clarke Wilm|
|Michael Grier Hi-sticking against Darcy Tucker|
|Darcy Tucker Hooking against Daniel Brière|
|Derek Roy Cross checking against Darcy Tucker|
|Derek Roy Hooking against Ben Ondrus|
|Ben Ondrus Roughing against Tim Connolly|
|Andrew Peters Roughing against Ben Ondrus|
|Andrew Peters Roughing against Ben Ondrus|
|Tie Domi Fighting (maj) against Jay McKee|
|Tie Domi Game misconduct against Jay McKee|
|Ben Ondrus Slashing against Andrew Peters|
|Toni Lydman Interference against Kyle Wellwood|
|Matt Stajan Tripping against J-P Dumont|
|Andrew Peters Misconduct (10 min)|
|SA: 40||TOI: 59:55|
|Saves: 34||EV: 26 - 30|
|PIM: 0||PP: 8 - 10|
|SV%: .850||SH: 0 - 0|
|SA: 31||TOI: 59:37|
|Saves: 31||EV: 17 - 17|
|PIM: 0||PP: 13 - 13|
|SV%: 1.000||SH: 1 - 1|