'Chalk this game up as another one of those classic Buffalo-Toronto games, with the Sabres continuing its home dominance of their rivals to the north, picking up a 5-3 win on Thursday Night.'
'I also found it interesting to watch this Sabres team and the transformation from the team that ousted the Leafs a few seasons ago in the semis. They have a solid core of youth and skill and look as though they may be ready to make some noise in the Northeast Division.'
'Sometimes I’m not sure it’s luck. Tonight we let the second period get away from us after a good first period. Then in the third period with a one-goal game, we found a way not to win the hockey game [sic]. We couldn’t close it off, they played defense real well and we didn’t get real dangerous in the third.'
'"I thought that Mika played a pretty good game. I don't think he had to make nearly the saves Belfour had to make. I like how he handled the puck in our zone. He made some really nice plays for us. He made enough saves but there was one goal that I really didn't like on him. There may have been a little rust from the length he has been out, but regardless it was great to get him a win."'
'19,000+ fans, Buffalo's second sellout of the season, were in attendance for the division rivalry game. The intensity and excitement for this game could be felt throughout the entire stadium.'
'"I thought the building was electric. That might be as good a game as you're going to see. On a skating standpoint, a hitting standpoint, a transition (standpoint), you wish hockey games could be like that every night."'
'"I think he has a lack of confidence right now, that he is really pressing, where sometimes he could be shooting and isn't shooting," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said.'
'"We seem to bring out the best of these guys at home, that's for sure," understated Maple Leafs captain Mats Sundin, who had a quiet night with the puck. "I don't know if it's because of all the Toronto fans in the building, but they certainly always play well against us here."'
'Exactly why Leafs fans torture themselves by making the trip over the border is not clear. Many of the 18,690 in attendance were Leafs supporters, and even chanted Ed Belfour's name on a couple of occasions. Yet the Leafs dropped to 2-13-3 at HSBC Arena since it opened in 1996.'
'Satan, meanwhile, had his own issues with referees Don Koharski and Craig Spada. The Sabres captain was livid at being tagged with a holding-the-stick penalty with 3:11 remaining, and his subsequent protests resulted in an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.'
'"Patience is key," coach Pat Quinn said when asked if a roster upheaval was needed. "Panickers both on and off the ice never seem to come out on top."'
'The joint always is lively whenever the Leafs come to town, but there seemed to be a slight increase in Toronto supporters in the building last night. Part of that can be attributed to the Sabres' recent marketing scheme aimed at attracting Canadian fans from the Niagara Peninsula.'
'"We're late to the puck, we don't keep it in (their zone), our forecheck is not strong and we don't cover well in our zone," coach Pat Quinn said in a blanket condemnation of what he had just witnessed. "These are miscues you don't expect from veterans. We have to get better. We're playing soft."'
'"It's inside my pads and the referee has no vision of it," Belfour said. "He's supposed to blow the whistle. That's the rule. It was a screw-up call by the referee and very disappointing."'
'The Leafs stopped hitting in the second period and instead reverted to their old habit of taking unnecessary penalties, giving the Sabres three power-play opportunities.'