NHL Game Summary - Buffalo at Toronto|
(Thursday, February 21st)
Final Score: Toronto 3, Buffalo 1
Toronto, ON (Sports Network) - Buffalo began the post-Lindy Ruff era the same
way it ended, with a loss.
Just one day after firing the longest tenured head coach in the NHL, the
Sabres were on the losing end of a 3-1 decision to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
After a 6-10-1 start to the season, Buffalo management decided to part ways
with Ruff, who had been the head coach of the team since July 21, 1997.
Ruff left the Sabres with a record of 571-432-78-84 and took the club to the
playoffs in eight of his 14 full seasons as head coach, including four trips
to the Eastern Conference finals and a loss to the Dallas Stars in the 1999
Stanley Cup Finals. However, Buffalo did not reach the postseason for the
third time in the last five years in 2011-12.
Ron Rolston, who had been serving as the head coach of the Rochester Americans
of the AHL, was named interim coach of the Sabres for the rest of the season.
"I thought we played well in parts of the game," Rolston said. "I didn't like
our second period, obviously it was the turning point."
James van Riemsdyk scored twice while Dion Phaneuf added a goal and an assist
for the Maple Leafs, who have won three of their last four games. Ben Scrivens
posted 31 saves in the win.
"He has been great for us this year," said Toronto head coach Randy Carlyle
about van Riemsdyk. "He's a hard worker and he loves to learn about the
sport. He's just going to get better and better as time goes on. He has size
and he can skate, those are two good qualities to have in this league."
Tyler Ennis had the lone goal of the game for the Sabres, who have dropped
five of their last six games. Ryan Miller gave up all three goals on 35 shots
in the loss.
Each goalie made nice saves in the first several minutes of the game, but the
Sabres got on the board with 6:40 to play in the first period when Ennis
brought the puck and from the top of the right circle he snapped it into the
left corner for his sixth of the year.
The score stayed that way until the second period when the Maple Leafs tied
the contest on a power play.
Skating on a man advantage that had carried over from the first period, Phil
Kessel sent a pass from the left point to the outside right circle where
Phaneuf's one-timer found the back of the net just 1:15 in.
Toronto then took a 2-1 lead with 1:56 to play in the middle stanza as Kessel
flew in down the right wing and sent a slip pass into the slot where van
Riemsdyk re-directed it into the net.
The Maple Leafs gave themselves some breathing space on a 5-on-3 power play.
Cody Franson held the puck at the left point before sliding it over to the low
right side where van Riemsdyk snapped it into the net for his 11th goal of the
season with 5:32 to play.
Kessel had two assists in the game ... Toronto plays in Ottawa on Saturday ...
Buffalo hosts the Islanders on Saturday ... Toronto has taken two of three
from Buffalo this season.
02/22 00:40:55 ET