Toronto, ON – Ryan Miller posted 34 saves to help the Buffalo Sabres take a thrilling 2-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday at the Air Canada Centre.
Miller came just 1:42 away from the shutout while Cody Hodgson and Jason Pominville each lit the net for the Sabres, who took a 5-2 win in their opener on Sunday against the Flyers.
"We needed to start strong tonight and that's what we got," said Miller. "I haven't had a whole lot of luck here in this building so it was nice to get the win tonight."
Nazem Kadri scored the only goal of the game for the Maple Leafs, who opened their season with a 2-1 win over Montreal on Saturday. Ben Scrivens stopped 18 shots in the loss.
"We were doing a lot of good things out there late in the game," said Toronto head coach Randy Carlyle. "I think our effort was there tonight and we had good execution, but I just don't think it was at the level it needed to be to get points."
Miller had been phenomenal throughout the game and was poised for the whitewash, but Toronto pulled the goalie while on a power play for a 6-on-4 late in the game.
Off a right circle faceoff win, Michael Kostka let fly with a shot that he flubbed, but the disc bounced off the backboard and went to the left where Kadri swiped it in with 1:42 to play.
Toronto appeared to tie it 25 seconds later when Joffrey Lupul got the puck into the net from in front, but it was waived off as he punched the puck in with his hand.
In the waning moments, Phil Kessel faced a wide-open net from the left side and got a backhand swipe on the puck, but a Sabre was there to deflect it away and Buffalo held on for the win.
Buffalo got the lead at the 8:51 mark of the first period. After a left circle faceoff win, the puck eventually worked its way back to the left point where Christian Ehrhoff let fly with a hard shot. The disc then went off of Hodgson, providing a screen in front, and snuck past Scrivens for a 1-0 lead.
Miller was sharp in the first period, stopping 13 shots and helping the team kill off a pair 5-on-3 advantages for Toronto in the frame.
The Sabres extended their advantage to 2-0 in the second on a break down at the other end that saw Thomas Vanek skate the puck in down the left wing and fire a pass over to the right where a trailing Pominville slipped a shot between the pads of Scrivens at the 4:51 mark.
Miller kept up the solid goaltending with eight stops in the middle stanza to keep the Maple Leafs off the board.
Toronto was just 1-for-7 on the power play while Buffalo went 0-for-3 ... The Maple Leafs play in Pittsburgh on Wednesday ... Buffalo plays at Carolina on Thursday ... Each team won three times in the series last season ... Miller had not won in Toronto since Dec. 2009, but this win was his 28th against the team, the most for him against any team in the NHL.