Leafs right out of it

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 10:31 AM ET

BUFFALO -- Wearing a sarcastic grin on his face, Andrew Peters stood in the faceoff circle and swung his stick like a golf club.

Then, leering directly at the Maple Leafs' players, he further mocked them by making a putting motion.

Finally, having been slapped with a 10-minute misconduct, he waved bye-bye to the Toronto bench as he made his way to the Buffalo dressing room midway through the third period.

The message being sent to the Leafs by the Buffalo pugilist was a simple one.

We're going to the playoffs.

You're going to the country club.

This was the type of night it was for the humiliated Leafs, just one day after being eliminated from post-season play.

And if being mocked by Peters didn't sting enough, the 6-0 loss to the Sabres certainly did.

"That's embarrassing," Leafs defenceman Bryan McCabe said of Peters. "If he needs a foursome, he should call us. After all, he'll never see the ice once the playoffs start."

Peters reportedly received a scolding from Sabres managing partner Larry Quinn after the game.

Little wonder the Buffalo tough guy was humble when he emerged to address the media.

He apologized afterward.

"I shouldn't have done it," Peters said.

"It was unprofessional."

Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff claimed he did not have a problem with Peters' actions, quickly pointing out that the Leafs laughed at his Sabres during Toronto's 7-0 victory at the Air Canada Centre back on April 1.

Ruff was having the last laugh on this night. If you'll recall, he wasn't doing too much chuckling the previous time these two teams met.

Back on April 3, Ruff labelled the Maple Leafs' Darcy Tucker "a joke" and called on the league to suspend him for a controversial hit on the Sabres' Jochen Hecht, who injured his knee on the play and has yet to return to action.

Since no suspension was handed down to Tucker, at least Ruff could point to last night's score as sufficient revenge.

With NHL supervisor of officiating Steve Walkom in the house, the Sabres refrained from taking flagrant cheap shots at Tucker. According to Ruff, Buffalo did not want to risk having anyone injured less than a week before the playoffs.

When asked again about his check on Hecht, Tucker refused comment, only saying "What incident?"

It was obvious Tucker and his teammates were still gutted by their elimination from playoff contention. They were sluggish, allowing goals by Brian Campbell and Chris Drury in the first 3:04 of play.

Drury, with his second of the game, Paul Gaustad, Jason Pominville and Thomas Vanek rounded out the scoring while goalie Ryan Miller registered his first shutout of the season.

In the end, the final score was far more embarrassing than anything Peters did.


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