Greetings again from a perch on high, albeit a little lower than the love-it-but-you-wouldn't-believe-it locale we get in Montreal's Bell Centre. Back at the home office at One Seymour H. Knox Plaza for another game against the Toronto Maple Leafs, the personal punching bag of the Sabres and Ryan Miller.
Miller will be back in the net tonight against J.S. Giguere after Jhonas Enroth's wild night in Montreal. Miller has 24 wins over the Laffs, his most against any opponent. The Sabres have won 12 of their last 13 against Toronto and seven straight here since Dec. 12, 2008. Here's an odd one: Buffalo has killed 37 straight penalties against the Leafs, going back to March 27, 2009.
Out of town, watch Carolina at New Jersey. A Sabres win and a Carolina loss in regulation puts Buffalo into eighth place in the East.
Patrick Kaleta is on the ice for warmups so he'll be back in and Paul Byron will be out. When you have a 4:30 a.m. wakeup call for a 6:30 a.m. flight (plus customs lines), you don't have much to stay pregame. Drop the puck.
Sabres starters: McCormick-Gaustad-Grier-Butler-Myers. Goal: Miller
Leafs starters: MacArthur-Grabovski-Kulemin-Phaneuf-Aulie. Goal: Giguere.
Of note: Hecht has four shots on goal, Stafford has three and no one else on either team has more than two. Five Leafs have two. ... Carolina is losing at New Jersey, 1-0, through two periods. Eighth place could be up for grabs in this period for Buffalo.
8:49 p.m: The puck is dropped. Brian Rolston just scored in New Jersey to put the Devils up, 2-0.
19:12 left: Miller robs Lupul from in front.
15:16 left: Gerbe for interference. Lucky he didn't get the penalty shot call against him for throwing the stick.
14:50 left: Gaustad for hooking. That's a problem. Two-man edge for 1:34. Leafs have to break the PP drought against Buffalo here.
14:00 left: Sabres holding on. Connolly fished out a puck that got behind Miller. Close call.
13:10 left: Miller grabs Kaberle's wrister as Gerbe closed on him from behind. There's 21 secodns left in Gaustad's.
12:48 left: Huge roar from the crowd as Sabres kill it. Leafs may never score a PP goal on Buffalo again.
12:11 left: Turnaround time. Carl Gunnarsson goes for hooking Pominville. Shots are 9-2 for Toronto in this period and 24-19 for the Leafs in the game.
11:31 left: Killer. Connolly with three giveaways and Joey Crabb (who?) does the toe drag on Leopold and beats Miller. NHL-high 11th shorty against Buffalo this year. Incredibly, it's Crabb's first goal of the year. First since March 24, 2009. Leafs lead, 2-0.
9:40 left: Gaustad gets Buffalo back within 2-1 on a terrible goal allowed by Reimer. Slapshot from the boards right under the kid's arm. Leafs lead, 2-1.
6:45 left: Miller with three solid saves, including one on Kulemin. Kaleta blew a tire and wiped out with the puck under control and the Leafs caused trouble right away. Miller has 12 saves in the period as Leafs have a 13-4 bulge in shots. They look fresher. Both teams on the road last night. Wonder how much that shootout sapped Buffalo.
5:56: Attendance is 18,414.
2:30 left: Leafs holding on. Shots 15-5 in the period. Reimer has looked shaky on the last couple but it's been tough for Buffalo to sustain any pressure.
1:29 left: Faceoff in Leafs zone. Miller is out.
13.4 left: Connolly made a great play to stop Lupul on the empty net few seconds ago. Leafs ice it. Faceoff to the right.
It's over: A 2-1 loss. Leafs break their hex in Buffalo and Sabres blow a chance to climb into eighth place in the opener of the homestand. Final shots are 30-24 for Toronto (15-7 in the third).
757 p.m.: Game on. Bulletin: The Leafs have yanked Giguere and put James Reimer in goal. Giggy is sitting on the bench manning the door. Weird. Update: Rob Ray just said on MSG Giguere is ill. The Leafs PR staff just told the AP Giguere has a groin strain.
15:24 left: Something finally happened in a nothing period. Kessel beats Miller with a quick snapshot from the slot after a Kaberle feed. Good shot but, again, I'd like to see Miller out more and making that save. Leafs lead, 1-0.
13:12 left: Niedermayer's first goal of the season just hopped over his stick. Wide open rebound chance given up by Reimer and No. 20 fans.
9:51 left: Scrum in the corner. Lupul gets two for roughing, Connolly gets four (tripping/roughing).
7:58 left: MacArthur cranks one right off Miller's mask and he crumpled a little. You could hear it up here. Miller freezes the puck a few seconds later and trainer Tim Macre is out. Looked like Miller pointed to his left ear. He stays in. By the way, that's 38 straight penalties killed by Buffalo against the Leafs.
3:10 left: The Leafs are shutting things down pretty good. Reimer just made a great save off Hecht to preserve the lead. Shots are 10-7 for Toronto in the period and 16-15 for Buffalo in the game.
End-2nd: Sabres with some pressure in the final seconds but Leafs hold their 1-0 lead. Shots are 17-15 for Buffalo.
7:10 p.m. Game on.
17:24 left: A crazy start as Tim Brent goes for interference after drilling Kaleta. We've already seen Tomas Kaberle take Vanek feet-first into the boards (Johnny Boychuk flashback) and Ennis crank one off the goalpost as he broke in alone on Giguere after a great backhand pass from Connolly.
10:31 left: A looooong time without a whistle. Shots are 5-1 for Buffalo and the Leafs' first shot came with 10:43 left, a point-blank blast from the circle by Joffrey Lupul.
9:47 left: That's the kind of save the Sabres need from Miller. A glove grab on MacArthur, who went right through Myers.
5:38 left: Shots are 7-3 for the Sabres and the Laffs have been hit with a too many men on the ice penalty. These teams both look like they played last night. Not much happening. With Kaleta back, the lines tonight ran McCormick-Gaustad-Grier, Vanek-Hecht-Pominvile-Gerbe-Niedermayer-Kaleta and Ennis-Connolly-Stafford. The Connolly line didn't run early because of the power play on the Brent penalty. Interesting change on defense as Butler got the start with Myers and Sekera is playing with Leopold. Weber and Morrisonn stay together.
3:33 left: Brent had the best chance on that power play but now the Sabres get another chance as Grabovski goes for hooking Ennis in front.
1:30 left: Lots of puck possession for the Sabres but only one shot. Leafs kept them mostly to the outside. Like how strong Ennis has been with the puck, don't like how he's been overhandling it.
End-1st: Zip-zip. Shots are 9-5 for Buffalo.