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by Rob Crean / Buffalo Sabres

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) -Ryan Miller made 35 saves to help the Buffalo Sabres beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-1 on Friday night.

Jordan Leopold, Thomas Vanek and Patrick Kaleta scored for Buffalo. The Sabres improved to 9-12-3, snapping a two-game losing streak and beating Toronto for the 16th time in their last 19 meetings.

Miller returned from a two-game absence because of a minor groin injury, and improved to 23-8-0 lifetime against the Maple Leafs. ...more.

Following a two-game absence due to a groin injury, Ryan Miller passed his first big test, which came from Toronto sniper Phil Kessel.  With just over four minutes remaining in the first period, Andrej Sekera misplayed a puck in the neutral zone, allowing Kessel to come in alone on Miller from the left side.  Kessel, who leads the Maple Leafs with 10 goals on the season, tried to stuff it through the five-hole, but Miller sprawled to the ice and got the paddle of his stick on the puck, sending it safely into the corner.  The scoring chance was just the fifth shot of the game for Toronto as Buffalo dominated much of the first period, outshooting the Leafs 16-5 in the opening 20 minutes.

In his return to the lineup, Ryan Miller also returned to his Vezina Trophy-winning form by making 35 saves – 30 of which came over the final two periods – to lead Buffalo to a 3-1 victory over the Northeast Division rival Maple Leafs.  The win, which snapped Buffalo’s two-game losing streak, improved Miller’s career record against the Maple Leafs to 23-8-0.  The 23 victories represent his highest win total against any opponent.  Miller has now gone 4-1-0 over his last five games.
Any time you get your starting goaltender back, it’s a boost. We all know what (Miller) means to the team. We put a lot into what our goaltender can do for us in how we need to play. If we have to change our style of play, it hurts us. When Ryan’s in there, we can play a more aggressive type of game. - Head Coach Lindy Ruff

- Luke Adam assisted on Thomas Vanek’s first period power play goal to earn his first career NHL point.

- Patrick Kaleta scored Buffalo’s first shorthanded goal of the season when he knocked in a rebound off a slap shot by Paul Gaustad.  It was Kaleta’s third goal of the season and his third career shorthanded goal.
- The Sabres’ penalty killing unit extended its run of dominance over the Toronto power play by going 6-for-6 on the night.  Buffalo has now killed off 34 consecutive penalties versus Toronto dating back to March 27, 2009.  That included a 19-for-19 effort on the penalty kill in six meetings between the teams last season.

- Jason Pominville tied his season-high with six shots on goal, including five in the first period.

- At 4:50 of the first period, Leafs forward Colton Orr achieved the rare “triple minor,” receiving six minutes for roughing.  Buffalo scored twice with Orr in the penalty box, including a 5-on-3 goal after Kris Versteeg took an elbowing penalty on Nathan Gerbe.

- Buffalo scored multiple power play goals for the third time this season, going 2-for-4 with the man advantage.  

- The Sabres wore their royal blue, 40th anniversary jerseys for the third time this season.

-  Tim Connolly missed his second straight game with a groin injury while Craig Rivet and Chris Butler were scratched.  Mike Brown, Brett Lebda and Jean-Sebastien Giguere were scratched for Toronto.

The Sabres will hit the road on Saturday for the first time in 10 days as they travel to Montreal to take on the Canadiens.  Each team will be playing the back-end of a back-to-back set, with Montreal returning from its Friday night matchup with Atlanta, where they lost by a 3-0 score.  Saturday’s game marks the third meeting of the season between the Sabres and Habs, but the first in Montreal, where the Sabres went 2-1-0 last season.  The Canadiens won both games in Buffalo this year, which were each decided by one goal.  Mike Grier leads the Sabres in scoring versus Montreal this year with two points (1-1-2) in two games.

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