In front of 19,070 fans at the First Niagara Center, the Sabres indeed looked like a team that might be able to win with at least some semblance of consistency.
"It felt like a different team," defenseman Christian Ehrhoff said.
They forechecked hard. They actually escaped from their own zone often instead of sporadically. They backchecked with ferocity. They dived to clear pucks from the crease or beyond their blue line.
have a team," Nolan said. "If you're on this team, then you should be able to play."
All it took was a sacrificial lamb or two. Coach Ron Rolston and general manager Darcy Regier were fired on Wednesday morning. In their place came Ted Nolan, going back behind the bench he stood behind during the 1995 96 and '96 97 seasons, and Pat LaFontaine as president of hockey operations.
"That was a pretty good sequence there for me," he said.
the Buffalo Sabres," said third year winger Marcus Foligno, who converted a Steve Ott pass into the go ahead goal at 15:22 of the second period.
Ehrhoff was proof. He played a game high 24:05 and, with apologies to goalie Ryan Miller, made the game's biggest save. With Miller trapped to the right of the crease after a save during extra attacker time, James Van Riemsdyk shot the rebound toward an empty net.
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Ott called the Ehrhoff block the biggest moment in the game. But there were many key plays as Nolan played all four lines and six defensemen. Tough guy winger John Scott played 7:31 in the game, including four shifts in the third period as the Sabres protected a 2 1 lead.
second and played 19 minutes, 37 seconds, most among Sabres forwards.
"We had everybody going, everybody competing," Ehrhoff said. "A lot of guys have been down and confidence hasn't been high. so it's a fresh start."
"Those last 20 games were wiped out," said Ott, who scored Buffalo's first goal, set up the Under Armour Sneakers For Women
Sabres beat Maple Leafs in Ted Nolan's return as coach
Story HighlightsSabres won Ted Nolan first game in 16 years behind the Buffalo benchSteve Ott had a goal and an assist, and Ryan Miller made 32 saves for the SabresBuffalo won consecutive games for the first time since the end of last season
Ted Nolan won in his first game as Sabres coach in 16 years.(Photo: Kevin Hoffman, USA TODAY Sports)
BOX SCORE: Sabres 3, Maple Leafs 1
"It felt great out there, it really did feel awesome," Ott said. "I really liked our team game tonight. A lot of guys did a lot of sacrificing."
Rejuvenated by the arrival of a new coach and a new leader Under Armour Curry 2.5 Heavy Metal of the hockey department, the Sabres without question played their most complete game of the season and defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 3 1 on Friday night.
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But above all, they displayed desire, despite bringing a 4 15 1 record into Friday night's game against the Leafs (11 7 1).
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Ehrhoff, however, spun and dropped down to block the shot. Less than 10 seconds later, he battled to gain possession of the puck and then fired it about 175 feet into the Leafs' empty net with 28 seconds remaining.
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