Buffalo's Ryan Miller kept the Sabres in the game against Toronto on Friday night until they finally solved Vesa Toskala. Miller made 40 saves for his 20th win of the season, and the Sabres scored four times in the second period of a 5-2 victory over the Leafs on Friday night.
The game turned midway through the second period when defenseman Toni Lydman's harmless-looking floater went off the glove of Toskala and trickled into the net at 7:02, giving the Sabres a 2-1 lead after they had been outshot 16-6.
"Usually they're really pretty," joked Lydman, who has 30 goals in 612 career NHL games. "I can't remember scoring a goal like that before."
The goal energized the Sabres and appeared to rattle Toskala, who wound up allowing four second-period goals on just six shots before being lifted.
"I was just thinking ahead," he said. "I was thinking of a quick plan. It hit my thumb and went in. It was a bad time to give up that goal. The game was 1-1. Everybody makes mistakes."
Toskala was replaced by Jonas Gustavsson after Matt Ellis scored on a wrist shot from the left circle at 11:48 to make it 4-1. Derek Roy and Mike Grier also scored in the middle period for Buffalo (21-10-2), which beat Toronto for the eighth time in a row. Thomas Vanek added a third-period goal as the Sabres won for the fifth time in six games.
But it was Lydman's goal that had Leafs coach Ron Wilson upset after the game.
"When you make a mistake like that, you've got to buckle down. Unfortunately [Toskala] didn't," Wilson said.
The Leafs didn't quit in the third period, firing 20 shots at Miller -- but he was beaten only by Lee Stempniak with 20 seconds to play.
"As a goaltender you feel bad for Vesa on that play," he said. "You know what he's trying to do ... he's looking for an option. But playing against the Maple Leafs, I don't really care too much."
Rookie Viktor Stalberg scored in the first period for the Maple Leafs (12-16-7), who allowed four second-period goals for the second consecutive game. Toronto lost to Phoenix 6-3 Wednesday.
The Sabres began their second-period blitz when Roy one-timed a shot from the slot that got past Toskala at 1:32. Grier scored just 2:12 after Lydman's goal when Tim Kennedy's feed from the left circle went off his left leg and went in.
Material from wire services and team media was used in this report
|Viktor Stalberg (1) ASST: Jamal Mayers (2), Colton Orr (2)|
1 - 0 TOR
|Derek Roy (8) ASST: Drew Stafford (8), Jochen Hecht (8)|
1 - 1 Tie
|Toni Lydman (1) ASST: Craig Rivet (9)|
2 - 1 BUF
|Michael Grier (6) ASST: Tim Kennedy (7)|
3 - 1 BUF
|Matt Ellis (2) ASST: Tyler Myers (16)|
4 - 1 BUF
|Thomas Vanek (10) ASST: Michael Grier (3), Toni Lydman (3)|
5 - 1 BUF
|Lee Stempniak (9) ASST: Nikolay Kulemin (4)|
5 - 2 BUF
|Power Play %||15.9%||13.4%|
|% on Road||11.0%||12.2%|
|% at Home||20.6%||14.5%|
|Steve Montador Hooking against Francois Beauchemin|
|Tomas Kaberle Slashing against Tim Connolly|
|Garnet Exelby Delay of game|