BUFFALO - ‘Christmas comes early’ was a sign being waved at rinkside as the last-place Buffalo Sabres met the Maple Leafs after some popular hockey office changes.
But it seems the Maple Leafs are already marking Lent a few months early by giving up scoring.
Toronto, despite missing three centres, had a chance to take out a team that came into the week at the bottom of the Atlantic Division. But a housecleaning, coupled with the presence of long-time Leafs killer Ryan Miller, was enough to earn the Sabres a 3-1 win.
The Leafs reversed a long string of games where they were outshot. For just the third time in 21 games, the Sabres led after two periods and survived a late Henrik Tallinder interference call. The Leafs have now been held to four even-strength goals in their past six games and eight overall, while Miller chalked up his 30th career win against Toronto, which had its usual army of supporters crossing the border for the opener of a home-and-home series.