Lopsided loss has Ruff riled

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:02 AM ET

Lindy Ruff took just one minute 22 seconds of the media's time to sum up his team's awful effort last night -- about as long as the Maple Leafs needed to score three first-period goals.

"We talked about it this morning, we knew they'd come at us hard," the Sabres coach said, trying to suppress his anger following a 7-0 loss.

After breaking the hearts of so many Leafs fans who had made the trek to Buffalo through the years, it was the largest margin of victory by Toronto since the National Hockey League expanded to Buffalo in 1970.

"That was one of the worst games by the team as a whole that I've been part of," nine-year Sabres veteran Jay McKee said. "We were dominated all over the ice. We played like a team that was out of the playoffs and they played like a team that was comfortably in the playoffs.

SUCCESSFUL

"We've been getting away from what made us successful. We have the speed and we have the puck movement, we just can't connect the passes."

But before there's panic in Cheektowaga, 20 points still separates these teams. However, the Sabres have lost the first-place race in the Northeast Division to Ottawa and are in danger of seeing fourth place in the conference and home ice slip away in the final two weeks of the regular season.

"It's about accountability," said goaltender Ryan Miller, who started and was in net for five of the seven goals. "But we also have to put some joy back in our game."

STRONG SUIT

Ruff was asked about the goaltending, once the Sabres' strong suit to the point they dealt Mika Noronen to Vancouver and kept Miller and Martin Biron.

"As a team, we have to be better and that part (goaltending) has to be better, too," Ruff said. "But we have to be ready to support them better at times like this, too."

Leafs captain Mats Sundin was glad to see the skate on the other foot for a change, having been part of many disappointing outings against Buffalo with the Leafs and before that, the Quebec Nordiques.

"Buffalo has four lines that skate really hard, especially in their rink," Sundin said. "When they're on their game, they forecheck well and they're on top of our defence.

"But we had that extra step and we kind of played their game and gave it back to them."


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