Maple Leafs end 11-game home losing streak
TORONTO—Joey Crabb had a goal and an assist, Ben Scrivens made 29 saves and the Toronto Maple Leafs ended a team-record 11-game home losing streak with a 4-3 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday night.
Phil Kessel, John-Michael Liles and Matt Frattin also scored, and Clarke MacArthur added two assists.
Scrivens won a night after making 33 saves in the Toronto Marlies' 5-4 overtime victory over Rochester in the American Hockey League.
Tyler Ennis, Ville Leino and Drew Stafford scored for Buffalo. The Sabres are trying to chase down Washington for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Sabres fell flat in their most important game of the season. Playing for the second time in two nights, they weren't able to impose themselves on the fragile Leafs and couldn't convert on three power-play opportunities.
Crabb's short-handed goal set the tone, with the Toronto forward stealing the puck from Andrej Sekera at the blue line and beating Ryan Miller for a breakaway goal at 9:32 of the first period.
That was an important 1-0 lead, especially with Scrivens making just his ninth NHL appearance. During a callup earlier in the season, the 25-year-old struggled in particular during home starts -- losing all three he made. He looked much more confident on this night and wasn't shy about coming out to challenge shooters.
There was little he could do on the play that saw the Sabres tie it at 1. Drew Stafford made a good play to drive around a defenseman and find Ennis, who roofed the shot at 10:59 of the second period.
But Kessel restored Toronto's lead less than 5 minutes later by ripping a shot past Miller for his career-best 37th goal of the season.
Liles made it 3-1 with a backbreaking goal that came with 0.7 seconds to play in the period. He drove hard to the net and knocked in MacArthur's rebound -- a play that required video review.
That set up the most important period of the season for the Sabres, who briefly got some life after Leino shook off two defenders and beat Scrivens with a backhander at 6:48. Frattin's seventh of the season at 10:20 gave Toronto the insurance it would need when Stafford got his 20th at 17:15.
Notes: Tyler Myers sat out for the Sabres because of a foot injury ... Toronto scratched Cody Franson ... Buffalo called up defensemen Brayden McNabb and T.J. Brennan from the AHL and inserted them into the lineup.