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Toronto
Maple Leafs
40-31-11
Buffalo
Sabres
53-22-7

33 SOG
30 SOG
1st2nd3rdT
TOR
BUF
game recap

Maple Leafs 4, Sabres 1

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:47 AM

Associated Press

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Maple Leafs 4, Sabres 1
Toronto Maple Leafs 4, Buffalo Sabres 1

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) -This was the type of performance the Toronto Maple Leafs have come to expect from Mats Sundin.

Sundin had two goals and an assist to help the Maple Leafs to a convincing 4-1 victory over Buffalo on Saturday night, the Sabres' first loss in regulation.

"He's our captain and a huge part of our hockey club," Darcy Tucker said. "He's the leader of our team, and goes out and plays hard every night. Tonight was just a phenomenal game."

Sundin capped a three-goal second period that included scores by Tucker and Jeff O'Neill and gave the Maple Leafs their fifth win in 23 regular-season games in Buffalo since 1996.

The loss was Buffalo's first in regulation since a 4-2 defeat against Philadelphia on April 7. The Sabres opened the season with 10 straight wins before falling to Atlanta 5-4 in a shootout last Saturday.

"Make no mistake about it, they dodged some bullets this year," Toronto center Michael Peca said. "This bullet hit them. There's two angles - it's either a major upset, or they're going to lose one eventually, so no big deal."

Sundin made it a big deal for the Maple Leafs, who have won four of five since a 7-2 loss at Ottawa over a week ago.

"For us, we're still looking for an identity and consistency to be a good team in this league," said Sundin, who registered his second multigoal game of the season, and has eight points in his last four games. "I thought tonight we were a good team. It's been up and down for us lately, so hopefully this is a step in the right direction for this club."

Buffalo also suffered another loss as leading scorer Maxim Afinogenov was knocked out of the game in the first period with an upper body injury. He played five shifts, totaling nearly four minutes, before heading to the dressing room.

Afinogenov, with eight goals and 11 assists, entered the night tied with the Thrashers' Marian Hossa for second in scoring in the NHL. Coach Lindy Ruff wasn't specific as far as how long the speedy winger would be lost, other than saying he would be out "a while."

It was the second consecutive game that the Sabres fell behind 4-1. They came back on Thursday to defeat Boston in a shootout, but there was no such rally against the tight-checking Maple Leafs.

"You play with fire, you're going to get burned," Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller said.

Jochen Hecht opened the scoring for the Sabres with his third goal of the season seven minutes into the first period. He outmuscled defenseman Brendan Bell before putting a one-handed backhand past Andrew Raycroft.

Sundin answered just over 10 minutes later, redirecting Kyle Wellwood's pass at the top of the crease to beat Miller.

"That goal showed everybody on the bench that we could get some momentum going," Tucker said. "It seemed to roll after that."

The Maple Leafs broke it open in the second when Tucker, O'Neill and Sundin each scored in a 3:24 span midway through the period. Tucker's team-leading 10th goal made it 2-1 at 9:20 with Toronto on a two-man advantage.

The Maple Leafs outshot the Sabres 17-4 margin in the period.

"They did a good job of spreading us around, and took advantage of their chances," Hecht said.

Raycroft made 29 saves, including 16 in the third period, in winning his third straight start.

Miller was making his fifth consecutive start, and has allowed four goals in each of his last three starts.

"They came in and wanted to knock us off," Sabres center Derek Roy said. "They played well right off the bat."

Notes: Toronto has allowed the opening goal in five of the past six games. ... The game marked the end of the Maple Leafs' three-game road trip. ... Toronto center Alex Steen missed about 11 minutes of the first period when a deflected puck cut his lip, forcing him to the dressing room for treatment. ... Toronto defenseman Tomas Kaberle recorded an assist on Tucker's goal, and has 10 points in his last five games.

scoring summary
1st Period
07:07
BUF
Jochen Hecht (3) ASST: Daniel Briere (13), Toni Lydman (6)
1 - 0 BUF
17:12
TOR
Mats Sundin (7) ASST: Kyle Wellwood (10), Alexei Ponikarovsky (4)
1 - 1 Tie
2nd Period
09:20
TOR
PPG - Darcy Tucker (10) ASST: Mats Sundin (10), Tomas Kaberle (7)
2 - 1 TOR
11:59
TOR
Jeff O'Neill (5) ASST: Matt Stajan (7), Alexander Steen (4)
3 - 1 TOR
12:44
TOR
Mats Sundin (8) ASST: Ian White (7), Alexei Ponikarovsky (5)
4 - 1 TOR
3rd Period
NONE
penalty summary
1st Period
07:49
BUF
Brian Campbell  Holding against  John Pohl
15:08
BUF
Andrew Peters  Fighting (maj) against  Wade Belak
15:08
TOR
Wade Belak  Fighting (maj) against  Andrew Peters
18:55
BUF
Nathan Paetsch  Hooking against  Bates Battaglia
2nd Period
07:27
BUF
Adam Mair  Interference against  Darcy Tucker
07:27
BUF
Adam Mair  Roughing against  Hal Gill
07:27
TOR
Hal Gill  Roughing against  Adam Mair
08:48
BUF
Derek Roy  Holding against  Alexei Ponikarovsky
14:57
TOR
Bryan McCabe  Tripping against  Daniel Briere
17:42
BUF
Andrew Peters  Hooking against  Alexander Steen
3rd Period
01:58
BUF
Paul Gaustad  Hi-sticking against  Hal Gill
04:19
TOR
Bates Battaglia  Hooking against  Paul Gaustad
05:11
TOR
Michael Peca  Hi-sticking against  Paul Gaustad
05:11
TOR
Michael Peca  Hi-sticking against  Paul Gaustad
06:57
BUF
Jason Pominville  Hooking against  Alexander Steen
09:28
TOR
Mats Sundin  Tripping against  Brian Campbell
17:24
TOR
Bryan McCabe  Interference against  Chris Drury
goalie stats
Andrew Raycroft
SA: 30TOI: 60:00
Saves: 29EV: 19 - 20
PIM: 0PP: 8 - 8
SV%: .967SH: 2 - 2
Ryan Miller
Ryan Miller
SA: 33TOI: 59:51
Saves: 29EV: 20 - 23
PIM: 0PP: 8 - 9
SV%: .879SH: 1 - 1
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