Buffalo 2 – Toronto 1
Monday, January 21, 2013
Air Canada Centre
TORONTO – Jason Pominville’s first goal of the year proved to be the game winner as the Buffalo Sabres remained undefeated to start the season with a 2-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre on Monday. Ryan Miller came within 102 seconds of a shutout before Nazem Kadri buried a shot into the Buffalo net at 18:18 of the third. The Maple Leafs appeared to tied the game shortly after that, but the goal was immediately waved off when it was ruled that Joffrey Lupul directed the puck past Miller with his glove. Cody Hodgson had Buffalo’s other goal, and Thomas Vanek picked up an assist on Pominville’s goal for his league-leading sixth point of the season.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Ryan Miller: It’s often said that your goalie is your best penalty killer, and that was just the case with Ryan Miller tonight. The Buffalo netminder stopped 34 of the 35 shots sent his way, including eight during a four-minute stretch of shorthanded play in the first period. His biggest save of the night came at 12:54 of the second period when he slid across the crease to deny his good friend John Michael Liles of a sure goal on a tap in at the edge of the crease. Miller is now 28-14-0 in his career versus Toronto, and has more wins (28) and shutouts (4) against the Maple Leafs than any other team in the NHL.
BEHIND THE NUMBERS
The win was Buffalo’s first in Toronto since a 4-3 shootout decision on Nov. 6, 2010. The Sabres hadn’t won in regulation at the Air Canada Centre since Nov. 30, 2009 (3-0)… Thomas Vanek has collected six points in two consecutive games for fifth time in his career. The last time he did it was April 5/8, 2011… Vanek has 17 points (5+12) in his last 12 games, and 46 points (22+24) in 45 career games against the Maple Leafs… The Sabres improved to 2-0-0 when scoring first; they were 25-9-8 last season when scoring the game’s first goal… The Sabres were outshot 35-20, and only had 11 through the first two periods… Buffalo was outshot 11-0 in the first period after Cody Hodgson opened the scoring at 8:51… Buffalo opened the season with a sweep of their first of nine back-to-back sets... This was the 186th game all-time between the Sabres and Maple Leafs. Buffalo leads the series 103-60-22; they are 42-35-15 in Toronto… The Sabres are 18-23-1 all-time in road openers, including a 2-2-0 record in Toronto.
BUFFALO’S REAL-TIME STATS LEADERS
Time on Ice: Jordan Leopold, 25:12
Shots: Stafford/Vanek/Pominville/Ennis, 3
Blocked Shots: Leopold, 4
Faceoff Wins: Cody Hodgson, 5
Total Faceoffs: Hodgson, 22
Hits: Steve Ott, 7
Buffalo killed off six of seven Toronto power plays, including four in the first period. The Sabres played shorthanded for four straight minutes in the first period on penalties by Stafford (interference-5:36), Myers (delay of game-5:15) and Ott (closing hand on puck-3:59). The Leafs had eight shots during this stretch and rang another off the crossbar. The Sabres were held scoreless during their three man advantage situations, and are now three-for-nine to start the season.
After playing 11:13 on Sunday, rookie Mikhail Grigorenko upped his ice time to an even 13 minutes in his second career NHL game. Grigorenko played 4:10 in the first period, and followed that up with 5:20 and 3:30 in the second and third periods respectively. He won four of seven faceoffs and registered one hit, but failed to record a shot on goal.
Ville Leino missed his second straight game with a lower body injury; Lindy Ruff says he’s considered day-to-day… TJ Brennan and Mike Weber were healthy scratches for the second game in a row.
* Thursday @ Carolina, 7 p.m.
* Friday vs. Carolina, 7 p.m.
* Sunday @ Washington, 3 p.m.