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Leafs Beat Sabres For Third-Straight Victory

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
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TORONTO (Ticker) -- Alexander Mogilny put on an offensive exhibition for the Toronto Maple Leafs and further highlighted the offensive woes of his former team.

Mogilny scored a goal and set up the other two as the Maple Leafs extended their home winning streak to four games with a 3-1 victory over the lowly Buffalo Sabres.

A Sabre for his first six NHL seasons, Mogilny has a goal and five assists during a three-game points streak. He helped set up Mats Sundin, who broke a 1-1 deadlock on the power play 2:43 into the second period and ended a seven-game goal-scoring drought.

"I think the last two weeks, we've certainly played more the way we've played the last few years," said Sundin, the Leafs' captain. "We're not trying to make that extra pass out of our own end. If we don't have anything, we get it out. Our game is simplified - make sure we play good defensively."

Toronto's Ed Belfour made 19 saves en route to his 374th career win, tying him with John Vanbiesbrouck for eighth on the NHL's all-time list.

The Maple Leafs concluded November by reaching the .500 mark for the first time since October 12. Toronto went 2-5-2 the rest of the season's first month but was 8-4-0 in November.

"It's definitely a good feeling to get back to .500," Belfour said. "We've been working hard at it. It's a good stepping stone for us."

Curtis Brown tallied for Buffalo, which has scored just one goal in five of its last seven games and is 1-8-1-1 in the last 11.

"We went through stuff like this a month ago," Mogilny said. "It's not easy for anybody and we don't wish it to anybody. But it's one of those things - as long as it doesn't happen to you, you're happy. They'll get out of it."

The Sabres had a chance to climb within a goal in the third period. With J.P. Dumont creating a screen for Stu Barnes' snap shot, the puck rolled down Belfour's back, got caught in the goaltender's equipment and finally was cleared by defenseman Tomas Kaberle.

"It goes off Belfour's shoulder, off the crossbar, his back, slides down his pad and somehow finds a way to stay out," Buffalo goalie Martin Biron said. "There's nights like that where you hit a hot goalie, and he's been hot for a few games now. He was definitely on top of every shot."

"I was right there and saw the puck go behind Belfour," Dumont said. "I saw it go on his back and I was so sure the puck was in."

Just over five minutes into the contest, Mogilny had the puck near the bottom of the right faceoff circle when he picked out defenseman Robert Svehla in the high slot. The Slovakian fired a wrist shot past a screened Biron for his third goal of the season and second in three games.

Buffalo's Tim Connolly was serving an interference penalty when Mogilny created the eventual game-winner.

Mikael Reneberg fed Mogilny, whose one-time pass from below the right circle caught the Sabres' penalty-killers off-guard and hit Sundin on the left side of the crease. Sundin awkwardly stuffed the puck between Biron and the left post.

Toronto continues to thrive on the power play, going 1-for-4 to improve to 21.6 percent on the season.

Mogilny streaked through the slot and fired a wrister inside the left post to make it 3-1 with just over 13 minutes to play. He leads the Leafs with 12 goals, 16 assists and 28 points.
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