TORONTO -- Darcy Tucker shook off Toronto's worst loss of
the season and kept the Maple Leafs close in the playoff race.
Tucker scored twice and the Maple Leafs beat Buffalo 4-1
Saturday night to earn a split of the home-and-home series with the
"Our confidence wasn't shaken, but we all felt bad," Tucker
said. "To a man, on the bus ride home everybody wanted to have a
good effort tonight."
Toronto remained in 11th place in the Eastern Conference, two
points and three places behind Carolina and Montreal, who are tied
at the playoff cutoff. The Maple Leafs have seven games left.
"We got a chance and that's all that matters to us," Tucker
said. "We just have to win our games."
Jochen Hecht scored for the conference-leading Sabres, who tied
a season-low by scoring just one goal. Buffalo leads the NHL with
282 on the season.
"They regrouped. They wanted it really bad and came out and
outworked us," Buffalo's Brian Campbell said. "I don't think we
competed anywhere on the ice too much tonight."
"We could have caved," Raycroft said. "We're proven
throughout the whole year that we aren't going away. We've battled.
We keep working. I think it says a lot about the personalities in
Tucker has scored most of his 24 goals this season alone at the
side of the net on the power play and he did it again on Saturday,
giving Toronto a 1-0 lead at 3:28 of the first.
Hecht tied it at 1 with 1:03 left in the period with a shot that
beat Raycroft glove side.
Tucker regained the lead for Toronto at 1:45 of the second with
a wrist shot, and Colaiacovo made it 3-1 just over 2 minutes later
with a shot that got by Ryan Miller glove side. Miller slammed his
stick in disgust before being replaced by backup Ty Conklin, who
made his third appearance since being acquired from Columbus on
Miller allowed three goals on 21 shots.
"Last night they sat back. They didn't do that as much,"
Antropov made it 4-1 by tipping the puck past Conklin at 5:04 of
The Maple Leafs showed a video tribute to Rick Vaive, who 25 years ago Saturday became the first Leaf to score 50 goals. ... Toronto has won a season-high six straight at home to improve to 17-15 at the Air Canada Centre.