March 3, 2006
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) --
|McCabe and the Leafs need to stop the turnovers. |
D. Sanford/Getty Images
Derek Roy was happy that his first NHL hat trick came in an important victory for the Buffalo Sabres.
Roy had a goal in each period, and Ryan Miller had 21 saves to lift the Sabres to a 6-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday night.
Roy began the memorable night with a power-play goal in the first period, notched a 4-on-4 tally in the second, and had another power-play goal with 3.5 seconds left.
"It feels great, but the team needed this win,'' said Roy, who tipped defenceman Brian Campbell's slap shot from the point past Mikael Tellqvist for his third goal of the game. "It was a big win for us.''
Roy has a career-high 10 goals this season, eclipsing the nine he scored in 49 games in 2003-04.
"He's been a main cog for us,'' Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. "When he's on the ice he makes things happen. He keeps getting better, and we need him to get better.''
The Sabres snapped a two-game losing streak, and rebounded from a sluggish 4-2 loss to Atlanta on Wednesday.
"It was a great way to bounce back,'' Roy said. "Whenever you lose like that, and then play two days later, it stays in your mind. So we wanted to get out there and get a win.''
Chris Drury, Daniel Briere, and Thomas Vanek also scored for the Sabres, who snapped a two-game losing streak. Maxim Afinogenov had three assists for Buffalo, which raised Pat LaFontaine's No. 16 jersey to the rafters in a pre-game ceremony.
Alexei Ponikarovsky and Alex Steen scored for the Maple Leafs, who lost their fourth straight. Toronto is 2-9-1 on the road since Jan. 1.
The Sabres moved within four points of idle Ottawa for the Northeast Division lead.
"Guys are definitely hungry to keep pushing forward,'' Miller said. "We just want to make our game consistent so we know we have it every night.''
The Sabres led 2-1 but were on their heels 6 minutes into the second period. The momentum swung back in their direction when Miller made three consecutive saves in a frantic flurry around the Buffalo net. When the whistle finally blew, eight players were jammed in the slot area, with Buffalo's Mike Grier and Toronto's Eric Lindros in the crease next to Miller, who was sprawled and without a stick.
"The puck was just bouncing around and rattling around in there,'' Miller said. "I tried to reach for it but it bounced back in the slot. We were really scrambling there.''
The Sabres took over from there, and Briere made it 3-1 with 7:45 left in the second period with his 15th goal.
Roy gave Buffalo a three-goal lead with 22 seconds left in the middle period, converting Afinogenov's pass on a 2-on-1.
Miller also made sparkling saves on Mats Sundin and Bryan McCabe midway through the third while the Maple Leafs were on a power play.
"It seems like every time Ryan makes big saves we respond,'' Roy said.
"When things aren't going good, you don't get the bounces,'' McCabe said. "Things aren't going great right now, and we have to tough it out.''
Roy opened the scoring nearly five minutes in with his eighth goal but Ponikarovsky tied it with 7:12 left in the first with his 16th.
Drury pushed Buffalo's lead to 2-1 with his 19th just over a minute later.
Steen scored his 14th to make it 4-2 with 13:16 left in the third.
Vanek and Roy capped the scoring with consecutive goals with just under 3 minutes left.
Tellqvist made 26 saves for Toronto. He made his first start since an overtime loss to Montreal on Jan. 28.
"Too many times we were trying to make the great plays instead of the simple ones that are more effective,'' Toronto coach Pat Quinn said.
Notes: Toronto forward Tie Domi played in his 1,000th NHL game. He will be honoured before the Maple Leafs game against Ottawa on Saturday. ... Afinogenov extended his point streak to six games, and has 10 points during the stretch. ... Roy has five goals in six games. ... The Sabres have beaten Toronto in 13 of 20 games played in Buffalo since 1996.