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Sabres Suffer Inevitable First Loss

Saturday, 11.04.2006 / 12:00 AM / News
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Sabres Suffer Inevitable First Loss
Running the gauntlet of a tough October schedule and coming out unscathed with 23 points in 12 games made the Buffalo Sabres seem invincible. In fact, some attendees at Buffalo's 13th game of the season on Saturday night were even displaying "81-0-1" signs. But it was only a matter of time before the unthinkable and inevitable happened.

Playing a more disciplined game and out skating the Sabres through two periods, the Toronto Maple Leafs handed Buffalo their first regulation loss of the 2006-07 season, a 4-1 beating in HSBC Arena.

In the first match-up between the bitter rivals this season, Buffalo was out gunned, out executed and less disciplined. Had it not been for the play of goaltender Ryan Miller, who made 29 saves, the Sabres would have seen more than four Toronto shots enter the net.

"We had frustration with some of the calls and we lost a little composure," said head coach Lindy Ruff. "We didn't channel our frustration in the right direction and it cost us."

Buffalo opened the game looking like the dominating team that had won its first 10 games, but as the team pilled up 17 minutes in penalties in the opening two periods, killing man-short situations began to kill momentum. Mats Sundin nullified the lead Jochen Hecht provided midway through the first with three minutes remaining in the period and Darcy Tucker opened a three-goal run by the Leafs in the second period with a two-man advantage.

"We couldn't get out of our zone very well and didn't adjust quick enough," said Miller. "We needed more support in our zone and our defense just wasn't clicking."

But the greatest damage to the team from Saturday night didn't come in loss column. Maxim Afinogenov suffered an upper-body injury after crashing headfirst into broads five minutes into the game and will be out of the lineup for an undisclosed period of time.

"[Afinogenov, Derek Roy and Thomas Vanek] had been our best line," said Ruff. "Are we going to miss him? Darn right, we're going to miss him. But now it's somebody else's opportunity."

Driving to the net along the right wing, Hecht fended off defenseman Brendan Bell with his left arm and slipped the puck between Andrew Raycroft's pads to give Buffalo the 1-0 lead at 7:07 of the first.

The goal was Hecht's third goal of the season.

With his first of the night, Mats Sundin tied the game with three minutes remaining in the opening period. Stationed in front of the net, Sundin redirected Kyle Wellwood pass from the halfwall for his seventh of the season at 17:12.

The Leafs took their first lead in the game with a two-man advantage midway through the second.

Controlling the puck along the left boards, Sundin slipped a pass through the crease to Darcy Tucker at the backdoor for the easy redirect into a wide-open net at 9:20. The goal is Tucker's 10th of the season.

Two minutes later, Toronto's expanded their lead to a pair off a nice play by Matt Stajan behind the goal line. Curling behind the net, Stajan fired the puck to Jeff O'Neill at the right face-off slot for the one-timer and O'Neill's fifth goal of the season at the 11:59 mark of the second.

Matt Stajan curls around the back of the net and found Jeff O'Neill at the right face-off slot for the one-timer and a two-goal Toronto lead. The goal is O'Neill's fifth of the season. Alex Steen gets the second assist.

Off a give-and-go with Ian White, Sundin scored his second of the night and eighth of the season. Collecting a loose puck in the neutral zone, the Leafs' captain cruised into the Buffalo's zone, slipped the puck to White cutting down the slot and one-timed White's return pass from the goal line over Miller's right shoulder at 12:44 of the second.
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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Hodgson 72 20 24 -26 44
T. Ennis 80 21 22 -25 43
D. Stafford 70 16 18 -19 34
C. Ehrhoff 79 6 27 -27 33
C. Stewart 63 15 11 0 26
C. Conacher 79 7 19 1 26
T. Myers 62 9 13 -26 22
Z. Girgensons 70 8 14 -6 22
M. Foligno 74 7 12 -17 19
J. McBain 69 6 11 -13 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
M. Neuvirth 4 8 2 .921 2.78
J. Enroth 4 17 5 .911 2.82