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Roy, Pominville each score twice as Buffalo cruises past Toronto 4-1 @NHLdotcom

TORONTO - Linemates Jason Pominville and Derek Roy scored two goals apiece to lead the visiting Buffalo Sabres over the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-1 in NHL action on Thursday night.

Roy also added an assist for a three-point effort, while Sabres wingers Thomas Vanek and Drew Stafford each had two assists in front of 19,176 fans at the Air Canada Centre.

Rookie centre John Mitchell, with his third goal of the season, provided the only offence for the Leafs.

After Sabres goalie Ryan Miller denied a Niklas Hagman penalty shot late in the first period, Buffalo scored three times in less than five minutes in the middle of the second period to break open the New Year's Day tilt between the Northeast Division rivals.

Buffalo improved to 18-15-5 on the season, while Toronto lost for the fourth time in five games to fall to 15-17-6. The Sabres had just one victory in five games (1-2-2) before Thursday.

With the win, Buffalo moves into a tie with Carolina for eighth place in the Eastern Conference. Toronto remains in 11th place in the East, five points back of the Sabres and Hurricanes.

Pominville now has three goals in three games after scoring just once in his previous 17 contests. The 26-year-old right winger, who scored 27 goals last season and 34 times in 2006-07, has 12 goals in 38 games this year. Roy, the Sabres' No. 1 centre, has 13 goals.

Miller wasn't overly busy, but rose to the challenge when called upon. After stopping Hagman's penalty shot at the 19-minute mark of the first period, the Sabres goalie denied Dominic Moore on a last-minute breakaway in the second period to preserve Buffalo's 3-0 lead. Overall, Miller made 27 saves and was denied his fourth shutout of the season when Mitchell scored midway through the third period.

At the other end, the Leafs' Curtis Joseph made his second consecutive start - he recorded his 450th career NHL victory against Atlanta on Tuesday - and stopped 16 of 20 shots.

Toronto nearly scored on the power play midway through the first period when Nik Antropov's shot from the slot rang off the crossbar and goal post behind Miller. The Sabres goalie then robbed Antropov and Alexei Ponikarovsky from in close on subsequent rebounds, and then stood tall on Hagman's penalty shot after Roy had closed his hand on the puck in the Sabres crease during a goalmouth scramble.

Hagman attempted to freeze Miller with a deke, but the Sabres goalie lunged with a pokecheck and blocked Hagman's wrist shot with his right shoulder to improve to a perfect 8-for-8 on penalty shots in his career.

Pominville opened the scoring at 6:50 of the second period, on the power play, when his high slap shot from the point sailed over Joseph's shoulder. The Leafs goalie was partially screened on the play.

Less than three minutes later, Roy was credited with his first of the game at 9:11 when he drove to the net as Joseph juggled a shot by Vanek. Leafs defenceman Jeff Finger also crashed into the crease, and the puck went in off Roy's body in the ensuing scramble.

Buffalo's third goal in four minutes 39 seconds came when Pominville stole the puck from Antropov in the corner, took a stride and whipped a low wrist shot between Joseph and the right goalpost at 11:29.

Roy made it 4-0 for Buffalo at 5:58 of the third period when, from the side of the net, he deposited the puck behind Joseph during a Sabres power play.

Mitchell ended Miller's shutout bid at the 8:29 mark of the final frame, sliding Jamal Mayers' rebound under the Sabres goalie.

The Maple Leafs host the Ottawa Senators, another Northeast Division rival, on Saturday while the Sabres travel to Boston to face the Eastern Conference-leading Bruins.

Notes: Joseph, 41, started consecutive games for the first time this season. Toronto's No. 1 goaltender, Vesa Toskala, has lost his last three starts, surrendering 14 goals. ... Buffalo was 2-for-4 on the power play while Toronto went 0-for-5. ... Leafs forwards Jeremy Williams (bruised left shoulder) and Matt Stajan (blurred vision) didn't dress. Toronto recalled Jiri Tlusty from the AHL's Marlies and the 20-year-old left winger skated on a line with Moore and Jason Blake. Andre Deveaux was a healthy scratch for Toronto as Ryan Hollweg played his second consecutive game after sitting out five in a row. ... Toronto defencemen Luke Schenn (knee) and Mike Van Ryn (concussion) also stayed on the sidelines. Schenn might be back for next Tuesday's game against Florida, but Van Ryn's return is unknownThe Sabres beat the visiting Leafs 8-1 on New Year's day in 2000.

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