After being down 2-0 early in the first period, the Leafs had a chance in the opening moments of the second but they couldn't capitalize and the Sabres were able to increase their lead.
First, Paul Gaustad fired home a wrist shot past a screened James Reimer. Then the Sabres scored their second power-play goal of the game when Tim Connolly showed great patience to out wait Reimer for the 4-0 lead. It ended any hopes of a Leafs' comeback.
Drew Stafford has had an injury-plagued season but Saturday against the Leafs he was dynamite picking up three points.
Stafford's first goal was a great one-timer and on his second of the night, he took the puck from Phil Kessel, moved in and whistled home his 17th of the season. Stafford finished the night with two goals, an assist, seven shots on net all in just over 15 minutes of ice-time. In his young career, Stafford has 20 points in 24 games against the Leafs.
It was a long night for many Leafs but one player who deserves credit for just being in the lineup was Darryl Boyce. He had a gruesome cut on his nose from the Carolina game and he wasn't expected to play against the Sabres but he surprised everyone by playing.
Boyce wore a face shield and was one of the more solid contributors on the night even getting some power play time. He finished the night with 13:53 of ice-time, one hit and he won 50 per cent on his draws.
A big reason for the Sabres' success in winning the first three games against the Leafs this season is the special teams.
With their two power-play goals, the Sabres have now gone 4-11 this season (36 per cent) while killing off all 11 penalties. The Leafs have not scored a power-play goal against the Sabres in their last 37 chances. The Leafs' penalty killing has been dismal at just 63 per cent. Improving in those areas would help the against Buffalo.
Ron Wilson on the struggles in Buffalo:
"We don’t play with the same intensity against Buffalo as when we’re matching against our other division rivals like Montreal and Ottawa. We don’t seem to treat them as division rivals. I don’t understand it. They’re only 90 minutes away and lots of our fans always show up.”
Monday, February 7 vs. Atlanta Thrashers 7 PM ET (Sportsnet, AM640)
Game Notes: The Maple Leafs return home for the first of a back-to-back as they take on the Atlanta Thrashers for the third time this season and second at the ACC.
The teams have split the first two games with each winning on the road. Atlanta is coming off a 4-3 overtime loss to Carolina on Saturday, their third straight loss.