Tucker scored twice and the Maple Leafs beat Buffalo 4-1 Saturday night to earn a split of the home-and-home series with the Sabres.
"Our confidence wasn't shaken, but we all felt bad," Tucker said. "To a man, on the bus ride home everybody wanted to have a good effort tonight."
Toronto remained in 11th place in the Eastern Conference, two points and three places behind Carolina and Montreal, who are tied at the playoff cutoff. The Maple Leafs have seven games left.
"We got a chance and that's all that matters to us," Tucker said. "We just have to win our games."
Jochen Hecht scored for the conference-leading Sabres, who tied a season-low by scoring just one goal. Buffalo leads the NHL with 282 on the season.
"They regrouped. They wanted it really bad and came out and outworked us," Buffalo's Brian Campbell said. "I don't think we competed anywhere on the ice too much tonight."
"We could have caved," Raycroft said. "We're proven throughout the whole year that we aren't going away. We've battled. We keep working. I think it says a lot about the personalities in here."
Tucker has scored most of his 24 goals this season alone at the side of the net on the power play and he did it again on Saturday, giving Toronto a 1-0 lead at 3:28 of the first.
Hecht tied it at 1 with 1:03 left in the period with a shot that beat Raycroft glove side.
Tucker regained the lead for Toronto at 1:45 of the second with a wrist shot, and Colaiacovo made it 3-1 just over two minutes later with a shot that got by Ryan Miller glove side. Miller slammed his stick in disgust before being replaced by backup Ty Conklin, who made his third appearance since being acquired from Columbus on Feb. 27.
Miller allowed three goals on 21 shots.
"Last night they sat back. They didn't do that as much," Miller said.
Antropov made it 4-1 by tipping the puck past Conklin at 5:04 of the third.
- The Maple Leafs showed a video tribute to Rick Vaive, who 25 years ago Saturday became the first Leaf to score 50 goals.
- Toronto has won a season-high six straight at home to improve to 17-15 at the Air Canada Centre.