Published February 16, 2011
BUFFALO, N.Y. – Joey Crabb's short-handed goal midway through the third period sparked Toronto's 2-1 win over the Sabres on Wednesday night and snapped the Maple Leafs' seven-game losing streak at Buffalo.
Phil Kessel also scored for Toronto, which hadn't won in Buffalo since Dec. 12, 2008. The Maple Leafs have beaten their Northeast Division rival only twice in 15 meetings.
James Reimer allowed a goal on 15 shots to earn the victory in place of starter Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who spent the final two periods on the bench after sustaining an undisclosed lower body injury.
Paul Gaustad scored for the Sabres, 13-5-2 in their past 20 games. Buffalo squandered an opportunity to move into a tie with Carolina for eighth place in the Eastern Conference.
Crabb's first goal of the season and fifth in his NHL career gave Toronto a 2-0 lead with 11:31 left.
While teammate Carl Gunnarsson served a hooking penalty, Crabb burst up the right wing and attempted to get around Buffalo's Jordan Leopold in front of the net. Crabb was bumped by Buffalo's Thomas Vanek with a hit that allowed Crabb to regain his balance and sweep a shot past goalie Ryan Miller, who was leaning to his right.
Gaustad cut the Maple Leafs lead to 2-1 by sneaking in a shot from a bad angle 1:51 later. The Maple Leafs' stifling defense held Buffalo to four shots the rest of the way. Toronto won on consecutive nights and is 6-2-1 in its past nine.
The Maple Leafs, who lost 6-2 at Buffalo 10 days earlier, outshot Buffalo 25-15 over the final two periods and 30-24 overall.
Toronto defenseman Tomas Kaberle, whose name is again in the midst of trade rumors, set up Kessel's goal 4:36 into the second period. From just inside the blue line, Kaberle fed a perfect pass into the slot, where Kessel slapped it in. It was Kessel's third goal in two nights after a 14-game drought.
Miller had a better outing in his first game since allowing seven goals on 26 shots in a 7-6 overtime loss to the New York Islanders on Sunday. Miller had started 31 straight games before Jhonas Enroth stopped 32 shots on Tuesday in a 3-2 shootout win at Montreal.
Notes: The Sabres began a season-high, six-game homestand, which ends against Detroit on Feb. 26. Buffalo will then have a seven-game trip. ... Toronto went 0 for 3 with the man advantage and hasn't scored a power-play goal in 11 games against Buffalo, dating to March 27, 2009. ... The Sabres went 0 for 4 on the power play.