BUFFALO, Oct. 30, 2003 - (Ticker) -- Miroslav Satan's October keeps getting better.
Satan scored the decisive goal, the 200th of his career, in the second period and Taylor Pyatt added a shorthanded tally in the third as the Sabres held on for a 5-3 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Satan was named Sabres' captain for the opening the month of the season and finished it with five goals in 11 games, helping Buffalo get off to a strong start.
The 29-year-old right wing reached a milestone in this one, becoming the 10th player in team history to score 200 goals. He put the rebound of defenseman Alexei Zhitnik's shot between the pads of goaltender Ed Belfour with 4:18 to go in the second, giving Buffalo a 4-2 cushion.
"I didn't see the puck between the pads, but I thought it must be there, so I gave it a real easy poke," Satan said. "I touched something. I was lucky on that one."
It was the first even-strength goal of the season for Satan, who has four on the power play.
Toronto defenseman Tomas Kaberle halved the deficit just over three minutes later. But the Maple Leafs could not tie it, despite playing the game's final 3:11 with the man advantage after Satan received a double-minor.
"We found a way not to win the hockey game," Toronto coach Pat Quinn said. "We couldn't close it off. We didn't get real dangerous in the third."
Buffalo sealed its fourth win in five games when Pyatt scored his team-leading sixth goal with 27 seconds left.
Toronto pulled Belfour in the final minute and committed a costly turnover, giving Pyatt a clear path to the net.
Defenseman Ken Klee took down Pyatt from behind, resulting in an automatic goal.
"I like what I'm seeing now," Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff said. "I said I didn't really know what we were, but we're getting an idea of what we can be. Guys like playing with each other, guys have some chemistry now."
Joe Nieuwendyk extended his points streak to six games for the Maple Leafs, who failed to record a point for the first time in five games.
Tie Domi and Tom Fitzgerald scored for Toronto, which has lost consecutive games after winning three in a row. The Maple Leafs continued to struggle at HSBC Arena, falling to 2-11-3-0 all-time.
"One-third of the crowd is from Toronto, it's a very nice environment to play in," Satan said. "Everybody felt extra energy, as we always do playing against Toronto. It showed, we played with a lot of emotion. We wanted to win this game badly."
Zhitnik and Ales Kotalik scored in the opening 7 1/2 minutes as the Sabres jumped out to a 2-0 lead. But Domi and Fitzgerald tallied less than seven minutes apart later in the period to tie it.
Buffalo recorded a season-high 18 shots in the second period and reclaimed the lead at 8:35 on a power-play goal by Chris Drury, who scored for the second time in three games and extended his points streak to five games.
Toronto was held without a shot in the first 12 minutes of the second, finishing the period with only five.
"We let the second period get away on us after a good first period," Quinn said. "We were trying to play to play like a bunch of individuals. It was certainly the way we didn't want to finish the game."
The Maple Leafs had few chances on their game-ending power play but came close to tying it when Alexander Mogilny's shot from the right circle hit the post with two minutes remaining.
"We had some chances, but not enough," Sundin said. "We turned the puck over in our own end and they ended up putting the puck in the net. That's a really hard (way) to win a hockey game in the National Hockey League."