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Buffalo
Sabres
39-31-12
Toronto
Maple Leafs
36-35-11

23 SOG
35 SOG
1st2nd3rdT
BUF
TOR
game recap

Sabres 5, Maple Leafs 1

Tuesday, 08.16.2011 / 5:30 AM

Associated Press

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Sabres 5, Maple Leafs 1
Buffalo Sabres 5, Toronto Maple Leafs 1

TORONTO (AP) -The Buffalo Sabres and Toronto Maple Leafs used to be in the same place - far out of the playoff picture.

Not anymore.

Ales Kotalik scored two goals to help Buffalo win for the 10th time in 14 games, beating Toronto 5-1 Thursday night and showing the Leafs what could have been.

"It was a put-up or shut-up situation and we stepped up and rose to the occasion," Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller explained. "It doesn't mean we're in the playoffs yet but it means we're in position to make it now.

Brian Campbell, Jaroslav Spacek and Derek Roy also scored for the Sabres, who are on a 10-2-2 run and moved into a tie with the New York Rangers for sixth place in the East.

"We've got to keep winning games," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. "When you're playing games against teams you're right there with, you're going to have to win the majority of them to stay ahead of them."

Pavel Kubina scored for the Leafs, who are nine points out of a playoff spot and seem unlikely to qualify. A month ago, the two teams were at the same place in the standings but now the Sabres now are nine points clear of the Leafs.

Ryan Miller stopped 34 shots for Buffalo.

Campbell scored 2:36 into the game with a waist-high slap shot from the blue line that appeared to catch Vesa Toskala off guard.

The Sabres then took three penalties in a row, but the fifth-best penalty kill in the league trumped Toronto's power play.

"We created a lot of scoring chances but we just couldn't score the goals," said Toskala.

Spacek made it 2-0 at the 59-second mark of the second period with another slapper from the blue line on the power play.

Buffalo's Clarke MacArthur (41) and Alex Kotalik (12) get tangled up with the Leafs Carlo Colaiacovo (8) and Bryan McCabe (24) during the first period. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, J.P. Moczulski)

Kubina got Toronto on the board when he teamed up with Tomas Kaberle for a rare Leafs power-play goal. Kaberle fed his defense mate a breakaway pass and Kubina, who had sneaked behind Nolan Pratt, made quick moves that baffled Miller. Kubina tucked the puck into the open side of the net at 2:48 with Miller sprawled on the ice and Henrik Tallinder serving a hooking penalty.

Kotalik made it 3-1 at 8:59 when he got a pass from Vanek and took a wrist shot from the circle to Toskala's right. The puck struck the side of the goalie's glove and dribbled into the net. It was Kotalik's first goal in 16 games since Jan. 18.

"I shot a lot of those the last couple of games and they didn't go in," Kotalik said. His second goal was an empty-netter with 52 seconds left.

Roy made it 4-1 at 14:49 with Buffalo's second power-play goal, on Vanek's second assist.

Thousands among the announced Air Canada Centre crowd of 19,467 booed as the Leafs left the ice for the second intermission.

"I just don't think we showed enough urgency with the puck," Leafs coach Paul Maurice said. "We had a 3-on-1 and went offside and you can't do that in a game like this."

Notes: Buffalo was 2-for-5 and Toronto was 1-for-5 on power plays ... Leafs C Boyd Devereaux, who injured the medial collateral ligament in his right knee late in the 3-1 win over Columbus on Tuesday, will be out for four to six weeks. ... Buffalo RW Drew Stafford missed a seventh straight game while recovering from a sprained right ankle, and Buffalo RW Maxim Afinogenov missed a 23rd consecutive game since suffering a groin injury Jan. 1 ... Leafs RW Wade Belak and Sabres C Tim Connolly were scratched. ... After a home game Saturday against Atlanta, Toronto plays in Ottawa on Monday and flies south for games against Florida, Tampa Bay and Washington.

scoring summary
1st Period
02:36
BUF
Brian Campbell (5) Slapshot - ASST: Jaroslav Spacek (18), Adam Mair (5)
1 - 0 BUF
2nd Period
00:59
BUF
PPG - Thomas Vanek (26) Slapshot - ASST: Jaroslav Spacek (19), Brian Campbell (38)
2 - 0 BUF
02:48
TOR
PPG - Pavel Kubina (5) Backhand shot - ASST: Tomas Kaberle (32), Vesa Toskala (4)
2 - 1 BUF
08:59
BUF
Ales Kotalik (15) Wrist shot - ASST: Thomas Vanek (20), Toni Lydman (16)
3 - 1 BUF
14:49
BUF
PPG - Derek Roy (23) Snap shot - ASST: Thomas Vanek (21), Jason Pominville (38)
4 - 1 BUF
3rd Period
19:07
BUF
EN - Ales Kotalik (16) Wrist shot - ASST: Paul Gaustad (18)
5 - 1 BUF
penalty summary
1st Period
03:10
BUF
Jaroslav Spacek  Hooking against  Jason Blake
10:06
BUF
Derek Roy  Hooking against  Matt Stajan
12:35
BUF
Jochen Hecht  Slashing against  Alexander Steen
15:43
TOR
Mats Sundin  Roughing against  Jochen Hecht
15:43
BUF
Jochen Hecht  Cross checking against  Mats Sundin
19:52
TOR
Nik Antropov  Holding against  Jochen Hecht
2nd Period
01:33
BUF
Henrik Tallinder  Hooking against  Alexei Ponikarovsky
11:35
TOR
Pavel Kubina  Holding the stick against  Thomas Vanek
14:16
TOR
Mats Sundin  Holding against  Toni Lydman
17:05
TOR
Carlo Colaiacovo  Interference against  Derek Roy
3rd Period
12:03
BUF
Toni Lydman  Interference against  Nik Antropov
13:37
TOR
Matt Stajan  Hooking against  Nolan Pratt
goalie stats
Ryan Miller
SA: 35TOI: 60:00
Saves: 34EV: 26 - 26
PIM: 0PP: 8 - 9
SV%: .971SH: 0 - 0
Vesa Toskala
SA: 22TOI: 58:16
Saves: 18EV: 17 - 19
PIM: 0PP: 0 - 2
SV%: .818SH: 1 - 1