Miller saves 31 for his and Sabres' first shutout of season

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) -- Ryan Miller provided the one thing missing
in a season in which the playoff-bound Buffalo Sabres have already
set a franchise record for victories.

With win No. 51, Miller made 31 saves to record his and the
team's first shutout of the year in a 6-0 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday.

"It wasn't real high on my list," Miller said, of recording
only his second career NHL shutout. "But with the success we've
had, it is a little bonus on top. Just trying to get tuned up ready
to go."

The Sabres, locked into fourth place in the Eastern Conference,
still don't know who their first-round opponent will be when the
playoffs open next weekend. What hass become clear is Miller putting
aside questions of his preparedness, the rookie winning his fourth
straight start after a 1-5-1 slump.

Just what coach Lindy Ruff needed to see.

"I think his game has come around," Ruff said. "Going into
the playoffs, you have to have good saves, and today we got good

Miller's performance was complemented by an offense that has
suddenly regained its groove.

Chris Drury scored twice and Brian Campbell had a goal and two
assists in Buffalo's regular-season home finale. Paul Gaustad added
a goal and assist, while Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville also

The Maple Leafs lost in regulation for the first time in 11
games (8-1-2), coming out flat a day after being eliminated from
playoff contention. Leafs captain Mats Sundin had an 11-game point
streak snapped, and Toronto finished 0-4 at Buffalo this season.

"It was disappointing how last night ended up," Sundin said.
"Still, we should have had a better effort than we did tonight."

Added coach Pat Quinn: "We had a lot of guys that wanted to
play easy tonight."

Buffalo took control early, scoring goals on consecutive shots
to take a 2-0 lead 3 minutes in.

Campbell scored when his point shot knuckled over Mikael Tellqvist's right shoulder. Drury scored on a power play when he
drove out of the left corner and, as he was tripped, wrapped a shot
around Tellqvist inside the far post.

With Drury's goal, the Sabres set a franchise record by scoring
at least one power-play goal in 60 games. The previous record of 59
games was set in 1991-92.

Gaustad and Pominville then scored on consecutive shots 39
seconds apart late in the second period. Drury and Vanek completed
the surge with third-period goals.

Miller did the rest, particularly sharp in the second period
when he stopped 16 shots.

Among Miller's best stops came when he held his ground to foil
Jeff O'Neill, who was set up in front by Matt Stajan. He was also
fortunate when Kyle Wellwood backhanded a shot through the crease,
the puck dribbling along the goal line behind Miller. Gaustad then
tied up Darcy Tucker, preventing the forward from getting to the
loose puck.

"He owes me a meal or something," Gaustad said, laughing.
"No, he's played solid all year long. It's good for him that he
got the shutout. I'm happy for him."

The game became somewhat chippy in the final period. Leafs'
tough guy Tie Domi was ejected for being the aggressor in a fight
with Jay McKee.

Buffalo's Andrew Peters received a 10-minute misconduct after he
made a golf swing-type gesture toward the Leafs bench with 5
minutes left.

"It was disrespectful," Leafs defenseman Wade Belak said.
"You don't need to do that. But it was nice to see the referee
take action."

Peters said he apologized to his teammates and Sabres owner B.
Thomas Golisano.

"That wasn't something I was very proud of," Peters said. "It
was just stupid. I got caught up in the moment."

Game notes
Colorado is now the only team not to record a shutout so
far this season. ... Sabres RW Maxim Afinogenov had two assists to
extend his point streak to seven games. He has three goals and 11
assists over that stretch. ... Leafs C Nik Antropov did not return
after limping to the dressing room with 4 minutes left in the first