TORONTO (AP) -Jason Pominville and Derek Roy got the message.
Two days after being called out by coach Lindy Ruff, the linemates scored two goals apiece in the Buffalo Sabres' 4-1 victory over Toronto on Thursday night.
Ruff was upset after Buffalo lost to visiting Washington on Tuesday, saying after that game that "if Jochen Hecht and Derek Roy and those kinds of guys aren't our best players, (we) don't have any chance of winning."
Suffice to say, the Buffalo coach was happier with the efforts of his team's "best players" against Toronto.
"We were hard on a lot of plays and there wasn't much to dislike," Ruff said. "Special teams were good, our counterattacks were good. We made it easy on our defense. It was a big improvement from the other night.
"We need (Pominville). We need (Roy). They were better ... but we need them. There's no secret. We need them to be our best players."
Roy said he wasn't immediately aware of Ruff's previous comments, but that he agreed with his coach.
"It's funny, I didn't hear the (Ruff) interview after the game and I know he said our best players weren't our best players and I totally agree with him," Roy said. "I'm going go out every night and prove I'm the best player on the ice. I just have to work hard at it and work hard with my teammates."
Rookie center John Mitchell, with his third goal of the season, provided the lone offense for the Leafs, who lost for the fourth time in five games.
After Sabres goalie Ryan Miller stopped Niklas Hagman on a penalty shot late in the first period, Buffalo scored three times in less than 5 minutes in the middle of the second period to break open the game.
"I think if we'd have found a way to break the ice in the first period with some of the chances we had on the power play, and obviously the chance leading up to the penalty shot and the penalty shot, it might've been a different outcome," Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson said. "We didn't capitalize on our chances and they capitalized on all of theirs."
Toronto's Curtis Joseph made 16 saves in his second consecutive start. The 41-year-old goalie earned his 450th NHL victory Tuesday night against Atlanta.
Notes: Buffalo moved into a tie with Carolina for eighth place in the Eastern Conference, while Toronto remained 11th - five points behind the Sabres and Hurricanes. ... Buffalo was 2-for-4 on the power play, while Toronto went 0-for-5. ... Leafs forwards Jeremy Williams (bruised left shoulder) and Matt Stajan (blurred vision) didn't play. Toronto recalled Jiri Tlusty from the AHL's Marlies.
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