Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Sports

November 15, 2013

Sabres respond with big victory

Coaching, GM changes this week spurs team over Leafs

BUFFALO —

Steve Ott had a goal and an assist, and the Sabres beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-1 on Friday night in coach Ted Nolan's first game in 16 years behind the Buffalo bench.

Marcus Foligno scored the go-ahead goal, and Christian Ehrhoff sealed it with an empty-netter in the final minute. The Sabres (5-15-1) won their second consecutive game for the first time since closing last season with two victories. They also won their second straight at home after opening the season 0-8-1 in Buffalo.

Ryan Miller stopped 32 shots, and was particularly sharp in the final minute. He had his back turned to the play, and yet got a piece of Cody Franson's point shot.

The rebound caromed to the left of the net, where Toronto's James van Riemsdyk was facing an open net before having his shot blocked by Ehrhoff, who then sent the puck into the open Maple Leafs net.

The win came two days after Sabres owner Terry Pegula fired coach Ron Rolston and general manager Darcy Regier.

They took the blame for a rebuilding plan that was showing little signs of progress. The Sabres had their worst start in franchise history.

Trevor Smith scored for the Maple Leafs (11-7-1), who dropped to 0-2-1 in their past three — their longest losing streak since going 0-3-2 from March 7-16.

Toronto has scored just four goals in regulation in five games.

Nolan previously spent two seasons coaching the Sabres before leaving over a contract dispute in 1997, after he was named NHL coach of the year.

This shake-up also featured the return of former Sabres captain Pat LaFontaine, who made his debut in a newly created role as president of hockey operations.

LaFontaine received a huge ovation when the Sabres introduced him by first shining a spotlight on his No. 16 that hangs from the rafters. Nolan had fans standing when he first stepped behind the bench.

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