Toronto at Buffalo

Sabres' Connolly factors in every goal, including scoring OT winner

CBSSports.com wire reports
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BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Ryan Miller and Tim Connolly were at their best with the game on the line for the Buffalo Sabres.

Connolly scored on a power play 1:04 into overtime -- his second goal of the game -- and Miller made 33 saves to help the surging Sabres beat Toronto 3-2 on Friday.

Miller improved to 8-0-1, and the Sabres (8-1-1) won their fourth straight game to match their second-best start after 10 games since entering the NHL in 1970.

Toronto, an NHL-worst 1-7-3, was all over Buffalo in the third period, with Miller preserving the Sabres slim 2-1 until the final minute when Mikhail Grabovski deflected Tomas Kaberle's shot to tie the game.

The short-handed goal came with Toronto goalie Jonas Gustavsson off for an extra attacker with 37.3 seconds left in regulation, and was upheld after a short review showed Grabovski making contact with the puck with his stick just below the crossbar.

The Maple Leafs finished with a 16-5 shots edge in the third.

"That's who he is. He's a battler and the backbone of our team," Buffalo captain Craig Rivet said about Miller. "We played against a feisty team that wanted a win, and he stood on his head a couple times to help us out. He was the main reason we got the win."

Drew Stafford also scored for Buffalo, while Connolly netted the winner when his slap shot from the middle of the blue line eluded Gustavsson.

"It's a huge win for us," Connolly said. "That's one of our best wins of the year. They controlled the play for a lot of the game, but to battle through and win, those games are important. You have to be able to win games when there's not a lot going on."

Roles seemed to be reversed in a game that featured two teams on opposite ends of the standings. But Miller quickly became the difference when he turned aside 13 shots in the first 10 minutes of the third period.

"[Miller] grabbed the bull by the horns and did his thing, which was great to see," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. "Our energy level wasn't very good. They came out with the all-out press, and you have to give them credit."

Ian White also scored for Toronto, and Gustavsson made 25 saves. The Maple Leafs have secured at least a point in three straight games.

"We played a solid game but sometimes it's not enough," said Kaberle, who had a pair of assists. "We did a good job going to the net in the third. The first few games in the season we were just standing around and waiting for good plays and empty nets that weren't there."

Stafford opened the scoring with 4:49 left in the first period, shoveling home a loose puck in the crease with Buffalo on a two-man advantage.

White tied it with a slap shot from the right point that got past Miller with just over a minute to go in the first.

Connolly made it 2-1 midway through the second period when he beat Gustavsson on the stick side with a shot while on a breakaway.

"We're doing a lot of things well," Toronto coach Ron Wilson said. "If we keep doing this, the results are going to be there. We have to keep persevering."

Notes

  • The Sabres are 9-2 in their last 11 games against Toronto, including winning six straight.
  • Buffalo D Toni Lydman missed his third straight game because of a groin injury.
  • The Maple Leafs, who came in with the best power-play unit in the league, finished 0 for 4 with the man advantage.
  • Toronto plays at Montreal on Saturday to complete a five-game trip.
  • The Maple Leafs have led after two periods just once in 11 games.
  • The 1975-76 Sabres also were 8-1-1 after 10 games.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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After assisting and scoring in regulation, Tim Connolly (19) also enjoys the winning goal. (US Presswire)
After assisting and scoring in regulation, Tim Connolly (19) also enjoys the winning goal. (US Presswire)

Scoreboard
Toronto (1-7-3)10102
Buffalo  (8-1-1) «11013
Three Stars
T. Connolly
BUF


Goals: 2
Assist(s): 1
R. Miller
BUF


Saves: 33
Save Pct.: .943
T. Kaberle
TOR


Goals: 0
Assist(s): 2
Scoring Summary
1ST PERIOD
15:11Power Play - Drew Stafford (4), Snap Shot. Assist: Vanek, Connolly
18:53Ian White (2), Slap Shot. Assist: Kaberle, Hagman
2ND PERIOD
10:39Tim Connolly (3), Wrist Shot. Assist: Pominville
3RD PERIOD
19:22Short - Mikhail Grabovski (3), Tip-In. Assist: Kaberle, Mitchell
OT
01:04Power Play - Tim Connolly (4), Slap Shot. Assist: Roy, Pominville
Penalty Summary
1ST PERIOD
03:46Kennedy, 2 min, Roughing
03:46White, 2 min, Roughing
08:30Rivet, 2 min, Slashing
13:57Kaberle, 2 min, Hooking
14:57Stempniak, 2 min, High-Sticking
15:54Wallin, 2 min, Tripping
16:53Stafford, 2 min, High-Sticking
2ND PERIOD
03:29Orr, 2 min, Roughing
14:22Exelby, 2 min, Roughing
14:22Kaleta, 2 min, Roughing
3RD PERIOD
22.0Myers, 2 min, Hooking
06:27Myers, 2 min, Holding
11:04Primeau, 2 min, Tripping
19:06Stajan, 2 min, Interference
OT
None
Shots On Goal
 123T
Toronto9101635
Buffalo714526
Goalies
GoalieMINSSGA
Jonas Gustavsson 60:32253
Ryan Miller 60:54332
Game Information
Attendance - 18300
Referees - Tom Kowal, Chris Rooney
Linesmen - Thor Nelson, Mark Shewchyk
 
Other Games
Pitt 4 Final
Colu 3
Fla 6 Final
Dal 5
Van 2 Final
Ana 7
NYI 4 Final
OT
Wash 3
Mon 2 Final
Chi 3
Colo 1 Final
SJ 3
NYR 2 Final
Min 3