Come Sunday, the Sabres did just that, throttling the Leafs with a pair of goals in each period en route to a 6-0 victory at HSBC Arena while keeping their composure.
"Tonight may not have meant anything in the standings, but the most important thing is that we played solid," said defenseman Jay McKee. "We want to carry some momentum into the playoffs, not go in backwards."
Excluding Mike Grier inadvertent high stick at the 4:31 mark of the second, Tucker wasn't touched. Buffalo was more interested in entering the post-season as healthy as possible than evening a score with the right wing for his altercation with Jochen Hecht
on April 3 in Toronto.
"Every bright light was shining on us, so what are you going to do," Ruff said. "Even if we get in a big scrum, and someone suffers a separated shoulder after getting thrown to the ground, we're the loser in the situation. We do something stupid and get someone suspended, we're still the loser."
"I don't know how you can win (in that situation) except that we won on the scoreboard, played our game and got out healthy. I don't know if you can do much more."
After blanking Toronto, Buffalo notched its first shutout of the season and Ryan Miller
was credited with his second career goose egg after making 31 saves in the contest.
Though 80 regular season games, Buffalo was just one of just two teams that hadn't recorded a shutout all season. With their 4-3 victory over Colorado in their final game, Vancouver remained the only team in the league that allowed a goal in every game.
"I guess you could say it was the one thing missing, but there is a lot more to shoot for," said Miller of the shutout. "(The shutout) wasn't really that high on my list."
"It's a well deserved shutout," said McKee, who broke an NHL record Saturday night in Montreal with 11 blocked shots. "(Miller) played good enough throughout the season to deserve more shutouts but we haven't been able to find one."
Chris Drury continued his career year for Buffalo on Sunday night, scoring a pair of power-play goals against Toronto. More than half (16) of Drury's 29 tallies this season have come on the man advantage.
Added Miller on Buffalo's offensive attack: "Teams are going to be tightening things up and it was really encouraging to see the guys taking the pucks to the net and getting creative within our system."
Buffalo took a two-goal lead three minutes into the game with quick goals from Brian Campbell and Drury.
Off a face-off win by Tim Connolly deep in Toronto's zone, Campbell's one-timer found the top-left corner of the net for his 11th goal of the season and a 1-0 Buffalo lead at the 1:56 mark of the first.
On Buffalo's first power-play of the game, Drury cut to the front of the net from the left corner and slipped the puck inside the right post diving across the crease. The goal at 3:04 was Drury's team leading 15th with the man advantage and 28th of the season.
Buffalo continued to score in bunches in the second as the team took a 4-0 lead with less than five minutes remaining.
Trailing a three-on-two rush, Paul Gaustad cut down the slot and received a centering pass from Max Afinogenov which he fired five-hole for his ninth goal of the season at 14:38. Jason Pominville
netted his 18th of the season off a high wristshot at 15:27.
Drury scored his second of the game on the power play and 29th of the season after one-timing JP Dumont's across-crease feed at 10:33.
On a two-on-one rush, Connolly feathered an across-ice pass through two defenders to Thomas Vanek
, who redirected the feed into the wide-open net for his 25th goal of the season at 14:51.
------------------------------------------------- SCORING REPORTS
| Super Stats
| Faceoff Comp
| Play By Play
| Shift Chart GAME BLOG:
1-0 (1:56): Brian Campbell's one-timer off Tim Connolly's face-off wins found the top-left corner of the net to give Buffalo the early lead less than two minutes into the game. The goal is Campbell's 11th of the season. Connolly gets the only helper.
2-0 (3:04): On Buffalo's first power-play of the game, Chris Drury cut to the front of the net from the left corner and slipped the puck inside the right post while diving. The goal is Drury's team leading 15th with the man advantage and 28th of the season. Daniel Briere and Brian Campbell record the assists. Period 2
3-0 (14:38): Trailing a three-on-two rush, Paul Gaustad cut down the slot and received a centering pass from Max Afinogenov which he fired five-hole for his ninth goal of the season. Afinogenov and Brian Campbell record the assists.
4-0 (15:27): Jason Pominville
snapped a wristshot top-shelf from the top of the right face-off circle for his 18th goal of the season. Assists go to Dmitri Kalinin and Paul Gaustad. Period 3
5-0 (10:33): Chris Drury scores his second of the game and 29th of the season after one-timing JP Dumont's across-crease feed. The goal is also Drury's second power-play goal of the game, giving him 16 goals on the man advantage. Dumont and Maxim Afinogenov get the helpers.
6-0 (14:51): On a two-on-one rush, Tim Connolly feathered an across-ice pass through two defenders to Thomas Vanek
, who redirected the feed into the wide-open net for his 25th goal of the season. Connolly and Ales Kotalik record the helpers.