TORONTO — Luke Schenn's long shot ricocheted high over goalie Ryan Miller to help the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Buffalo Sabres 4-2 on Thursday night.
It was the first time all season Toronto managed to beat Miller and the Sabres despite outshooting them in all six meetings. This one looked to be following a familiar script until Schenn's shot went off the stick of Buffalo's Raffi Torres and into the top of the goal at 8:30 of the third period.
Viktor Stalberg, Garnet Exelby and Fredrik Sjostrom also scored for the Maple Leafs. Derek Roy and Steve Montador scored for Buffalo.
One of the reasons the Sabres have such a comfortable lead atop the Northeast Division standings is their success against Toronto. They entered the game with the chance to clinch the division — and home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs — but the Leafs forced them to wait another couple days before that happens.
Miller was playing for the second time in two nights and allowed the Leafs to get on the scoreboard first. Stalberg scored his eighth goal of the season — and third against Miller — with a hard shot from the high slot that beat the goalie to the glove side at 10:51 of the first period.
However, the lead wouldn't last long after Leafs forward Brayden Irwin got sent off for boarding just over 12 minutes into his NHL debut.
Roy managed to find the puck in a scrum outside of J.S. Giguere's crease and scored his 23rd at 12:46.
Miller found himself out of position when Exelby put Toronto ahead 2-1 at 4:52 of the second period. He was down and out after a rush and the Leafs defenseman had most of the net to shoot at for his first goal of the season.
The Sabres again fought back quickly with another unlikely goal-scorer. Jason Pominville dropped a pass to Montador, who wired a shot off the crossbar and behind Giguere at 6:23.
The game was tied 2-2 heading into the third period and that seemed like a good omen for the Sabres, who had beaten Toronto by a 3-2 score in three games already this year.
Schenn made sure it wouldn't happen again with his fifth goal of the season.
Giguere made a big save on Roy with just over a minute to go before Sjostrom iced the game with an empty-net goal at 19:23.
Toronto dressed seven rookies for the game, including Irwin … Jeff Finger, Jamie Lundmark and Wayne Primeau were healthy scratches for the Leafs … Tim Connolly, Thomas Vanek, Patrick Kaleta and Chris Butler sat out for Buffalo.
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