TORONTO – Derek Roy scored 3:35 into overtime and Ryan Miller made 34 saves to lead the Buffalo Sabres to a 3-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs Monday night.
After winning an offensive-zone faceoff and an ensuing race to the loose puck, Sabres centre Jochen Hecht passed to Roy in front, who deked and then went to his backhand to beat Leafs goalie Jonas Gustavsson.
Nathan Paetsch, with his first goal of the season, and Hecht scored in regulation time for the Sabres in front of 19,235 fans at Air Canada Centre, while Sabres defenceman Steve Montador collected two assists.
The win was the sixth in eight games for the Northeast Division-leading Sabres (22-10-3).
Rookie left-winger Viktor Stalberg, with his second goal in three games since being recalled from the American Hockey League, and Ian White replied for Toronto. The Maple Leafs (13-16-8) lost for the third time in four games.
Once again, the Sabres relied heavily on Miller, who leads the NHL in goals-against average and save percentage and is the leading candidate to be the United States’ starting goalie at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
He stopped every puck he saw as both Stalberg’s and White’s goals came on crease-crashing deflections. The win was Miller’s ninth in his past 10 games against the Leafs.
Gustavsson, coming off the first shutout of his career in a 2-0 win over Boston on Saturday, stopped 27 of 30 shots.
The Sabres led 1-0 after a frantic first period in which both teams fired 13 shots and had several good scoring chances. Gustavsson made a nice save on Buffalo left-winger Clarke MacArthur in the early going, while Miller denied Leafs right-winger Lee Stempniak on a short-handed breakaway in the later stages of the opening frame.
Stalberg and White scored mirror-image goals in the second period to give Toronto a 2-1 edge heading into the third, but the Leafs couldn’t fend off the Sabres – or get another puck past Miller.
Hecht drew the Sabres even at 12:59 of the third period when he collected a loose puck in the slot and lifted a backhander over Gustavsson to make it 2-2 and set the stage for overtime.
Paetsch, a depth player for the Sabres skating in just his eight game of the season, opened the scoring at 6:11 of the first period. Buffalo left-winger Matt Ellis won a battle along the boards and slid the puck to Paetsch, who swept a low wrist shot that beat Gustavsson through the legs.
The goal, which was one the Leafs goalie should’ve stopped, was Paetsch’s first since Feb. 6, 2009, and just his seventh in 154 career NHL games.
Notes: Buffalo was 0-for-1 on the power play, while Toronto didn’t have a single man advantageaBuffalo left winger and leading goal-scorer Thomas Vanek sat out a second consecutive game nursing an abdominal injuryaIt was a busy Monday night on the NHL schedule with 11 games, and 14 of the 15 teams in the Eastern Conference were active. Only Washington had the night offaToronto travels to Long Island to face the New York Islanders on Wednesday night and then is off until the Montreal Canadiens visit on Boxing DayaBuffalo is on the road in Washington on Wednesday.