The Maple Leafs moved eight points ahead of the struggling Sabres heading into Friday's rematch at First Niagara Center. It also gave them a three-point cushion over ninth-place Winnipeg.
Buffalo goaltender Ryan Miller has enjoyed a tremendous amount of his success against the Leafs during his career, but has struggled against them the past two seasons. Fans at the Air Canada Centre derisively chanted "Miller! Miller!" as he fell to 1-5 against Toronto in his last six starts.
Toronto got off to a fast start, taking advantage of a rough night for Sabres forward Drew Stafford.
Stafford was all alone in front of the Leafs net with an early chance but couldn't lift the puck over Gustavsson's glove. A few minutes later, he inadvertently cleared the puck over the glass in his own end. On the resulting Leafs power play, Kulemin corralled the puck and slid it under Miller to open the scoring at 8:55.
The struggling Russian also played a key role in Toronto's second goal. He did a nice job to get the puck through to Grabovski prior to taking a bodycheck and his linemate went on to beat Miller with a well-placed backhand at 17:55.
It was the first two-point night since Oct. 30 for Kulemin, who had a career-best 30 goals and 57 assists last year but has struggled so far this season.
That was more than enough for Gustavsson, who was solid when called on, particularly in the third period, and recorded his third career NHL shutout.
NOTES: Toronto F Phil Kessel had his goal streak end at four games and his points streak at eight games. ... Sabres F Derek Roy and D Christian Ehrhoff remain sidelined with upper-body injuries. ... Jake Gardiner and Jay Rosehill were healthy scratches for Toronto. ... Announced attendance was 19,439.