After putting on a display of mastery in the season opener Sunday, the Buffalo Sabres showed Monday they're also capable of winning ugly.
Buffalo was outshot by the Toronto Maple Leafs, 35-20, and put the Leafs on four first-period power plays. But Ryan Miller stopped 34 of those shots, and Jason Pominville helped generate just enough offense to give the Sabres a 2-1 win.
A combination of sluggishness and sloppiness plagued Buffalo in the first period. A John Scott fight with Colton Orr 2:30 in was about the only sign of life, as Buffalo was outshot 13-5, thanks in part to four Buffalo penalties – including three within a four-minute span that gave the Leafs a two-minute 5-on-3 advantage. Toronto couldn't capitalize, though, and Cody Hodgson was able to beat Ben Scrivens 8:51 in to allow Buffalo to escape with a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes.
"Everyone that was out there paid the price to be in the shooting lanes," Pominville said. "We were fortunate they hit a crossbar, but for the most part we were good at limiting their opportunities."
Buffalo didn't need long to extend the lead, as Pominville scored his first goal of the season 4:51 in on a Thomas Vanek pass to give Buffalo the 2-0 lead. Buffalo was outshot every period Monday, but the Sabres allowed only eight Leafs shots (Buffalo had six) to prevent Toronto from getting back into the game.
Buffalo nearly surrendered that lead in the third, though, getting outshot 14-9 and being pinned in their own end much of the final four minutes. Toronto halved the deficit in the final 90 seconds when Nazem Kadri scored a power play goal with the goalie also pulled. A seeming equalizer seconds later was waved off when the referee ruled the puck was punched in, and Miller was able to make a couple key saves to secure the win.
Pominville also had an assist. Christian Ehrhoff had an assist and was a +2. There were 18 total penalties in the game, with Marcus Foligno also picking up a fighting major. Scrivens made 18 saves. Buffalo improves to 2-0-0, while Toronto falls to 1-1-0.
Buffalo is off until Thursday, when it travels to Carolina to play the Hurricanes.
Tags: Buffalo, Buffalo Sabres, Hockey, NHL
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