The Leafs headed into the third leading 1-0 and after they couldn't add to the lead on an early two-man advantage, it gave the Sabres hope.
With Carl Gunnarsson off for hooking, Tim Brent did a great job to kick the puck out of the Leafs' zone and send Joey Crabb away. The Leafs' winger made a toe drag on Jordan Leopold, fought off Thomas Vanek before passing the puck off his skate to his stick and around Ryan Miller. It was one of the best goals all season.
This was a blue collar, defensive effort from the entire Leafs' team. No one showed this more than Joey Crabb who played a key role in the Leafs winning in Buffalo for the first time since December 2008.
Crabb was brilliant on the penalty kill, forecheck and even blocked shots. He was a big reason the Leafs killed off all four Sabres' power plays. Playing just 8:32, Crabb had three shots, three hits and he scored his first goal as a Leaf on a beautiful individual effort.
James Reimer was expected to get the night off after winning in Boston on Tuesday. That didn't happen as J.S. Giguere left the game after the first period with a lower body injury.
Reimer wasn't overly tested but he made a big stop on Jochen Hecht in the second period moments after the Leafs had taken the lead. If Giguere is injured for any length of time, Reimer will get quite a few starts down the stretch. He stopped 14 of 15 shots on Wednesday.
The Leafs finally ended the Sabres' domination against them in Buffalo. You have to go back to December 12, 2008, seven games in Buffalo since the Leafs' last win at the HSBC Arena and the score that night was also 2-1.
One of the reasons for the Sabres' success against the Leafs at home was the early goals but on Wednesday that wasn't the case. The Leafs held the Sabres to just 24 shots and not many quality scoring chances.
Ron Wilson on the Leafs' playoff push and the spirit onthe team:
“If there’s six to eight weeks left (in the season), you just take a point a week. If you look at it that way, you can get yourself in. We’ve got a solid work ethic through our team right now, a lot of young legs out there and a lot of enthusiasm. And it shows.”
Saturday, February 19 vs. Ottawa Senators 7 PM ET (CBC, AM640)
Game Notes: The Maple Leafs return home to take on the rival Ottawa Senators and close out the four straight games against the Northeast Division.
The Senators have lost 12 of 13 games as they currently sit in last place in the Eastern Conference. Friday, they host the Boston Bruins in the first of a back-to-back.