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No Saturday Night Heroics

by Staff Writer / Buffalo Sabres

March 24, 2007
by Brian Wheeler

The Buffalo Sabres couldn't find the same magic touch they displayed a night ago.

Finding themselves in a two-goal deficit after a pair of quick goals flew past goaltender Ryan Miller to open the second period, the Sabres were unable to make up the difference and fell 4-1 to a desperate Toronto Maple Leafs club on Saturday night.

Lindy Ruff | Ryan Miller

"If we want to be the big, bad team we think we are, we're going to need to show a little more effort," said Miller. "That's for sure. Early in games at least. We know we have the ability to score, but we've got to start playing complete hockey games."

Excluding the change in location, the second half of the home-and-home series looked eerily like the first. Buffalo was badly out shot in the opening two periods and fell behind on the scoreboard after scoring just a single goal through 40 minutes.

But unlike Friday night, the Sabres couldn't mount the miracle comeback to win.

"We've got to start learning some lessons because we can't come back every night," said Miller. "It's not the way we want to play hockey. It's nice to have that capability, but we can't get out shot two nights in a row and look at it like we're happy with our game."

Buffalo's lone tally in the contest came from Jochen Hecht with a minute left in the first period. The Sabres skated away with a 5-4 victory in the first of the weekend series after lighting the lamp four unanswered times in a span of 8:45 in the third.

"We didn't handle some situations very well," said head coach Lindy Ruff. "But you have to give Toronto credit. They were on top of the puck most of the time, had us under pressure a lot and they skated better."

Buffalo was outshot 16-4 in the first period and 34-21 for the game.

"We've got to start shooting the puck," said Ruff. "We've hit a point where we don't even attempt to shoot now from bad angles or any angles. Even in the offensive zone coming off cycles, we don't shoot pucks.

"So we're going to get back to putting more pucks on net."

The early flurry in the second period gave Miller a short night of work for just the third time this season and put Toronto in front.

Ty Conklin replaced the Sabres top netminder when Carlo Colaiacovo's sixth goal of the season gave Toronto the 3-1 lead four minutes into the period. Miller stopped 18-of-21 shots he faced, while Conklin turned away 13 of 14.

"I wanted to get Ty some work," said Ruff regarding his decision to make a switch in net. "I didn't like the way the game was going. It's had nothing to do with Ryan."

Darcy Tucker recorded his team-leading 15th power-play goal chipping Kyle Wellwood's crossing feed into the back of the net at 3:28 of the opening frame to give Toronto the 1-0 lead.

Toronto finished 1-5 with the man advantage, while Buffalo failed to convert on its four opportunities.

Buzzing around the net, Hecht fired from a tough angled shot from below the left face-off dot just inside the right post to tie the game at 18:57 in the first period.

The goal was Hecht's 17th of the season and first in 12 games. Clarke MacArthur and Adam Mair recorded the helpers.

Tucker's laser into the top-left corner of the net earned his second goal, making the score 2-1 in favor of the Leafs just 1:45 into the second.

Colaiacovo gave Toronto a two-goal lead with a slapshot from the high slot for his sixth of the season at 3:34 of the second.

Stationed in front, Nik Antropov netted his 17th of the season, deflecting Bryan McCabe's 50-foot slapshot from the point past Conklin at 5:04 of the third.
Game Summary | Super Stats | Face-offs | Play-by-Play | Shift Chart
Quotes and audio courtesy of WGR 550-AM, the official radio partner of the Buffalo Sabres.
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