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Roloson did all he could but got no help defensively
Tuesday, May 25, 1999

The Toronto Maple Leafs woke up and played their brand of hockey tonight as the beat the Buffalo Sabres 6-3 tonight in the Air Canada Centre. The Sabres were put into a hole early and could dig themselves out. The Sabres just couldn't get into their zone and play their type of game. Twice, Richard Smehlik was caught pinching in and the Leafs took advantage by scoring on breaks. The team just didn't play the physical game they played against Boston, and it cost them big time. Curtis Joseph made up for his "bad" game on Sunday in spectacular fashion by keeping the Sabres off the board early and the Leafs countered by scoring two quick goals in the first period 18 seconds apart. Steve Sullivan, who had been giving Dwayne Roloson fits all night by crashing into him, scored Toronto first goal by outmaneuvering Roloson and drilling past the falling goalie. Then Sullivan fell on Roloson and the two exchanged shoves. Only 18 seconds later, Sylvain Cote got a perfect pass from Mats Sundin and broke in alone on Roloson. Cote moved to Roloson's left and shot the puck to the far side to put the Leafs in front 2-0. That broke the Sabres spirit as the Leafs fans went maniacal.

In the second period, Jason Woolley scored his third of the playoffs to put the Sabres back in it for a short while, but Sergei Berezin got his 6th playoff goal to put the Leafs back up by two. And then very early in the third Yanic Perreault got around James Patrick and put a backhander past Roloson on the short side. This was a goal that he should have stopped and Rolie looked bad on that one. The Sabres came back with two straight powerplay goals by Stu Barnes, who really has shed the monkey now. But then Smehlik got caught pinching in and the Leafs got a 3 on 1 and Steve Thomas got it past Roloson to put the Leafs up 5-3. The Sabres defense was giving up the puck all night long and leaving Rolie to defend for himself.

The heavy Sabre hitters did not show up for the game tonight. Rasmussen, Peca and Varada did not make their presence felt. Peca, in particular, has not had a good series. And the Sabres defense had a lackluster game at best.

Roloson starting in his second straight playoff game against the Leafs, struggled a bit, especially on Perreault's goal. But a lot of the blame has to be laid on the defense, especially Smehlik, who got caught twice pinching in and that cost the Sabres two big goals. Rolie did make some good saves, but one has to wonder how the Sabres would have fared with a healthy Hasek. It is an obvious fact that the Sabres cannot go too far without Hasek.

See Sullivan's goal and his hit on Roloson after the goal

By Daniel Salfin, Prospects Editor-In-Chief
Tuesday, May 25, 1999

My friend who lives in Toronto had season tickets for the Leafs and got tickets for game two but couldn't make it so they asked me if I wanted to take the trip from London to see the game but I refused. After watching the game I now wish that I would've purchased the tickets and scalped them to some Leafs fan for $250 a piece because that was by far our poorest performance in the playoffs yet.

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Toronto 6, Buffalo 3

  1st 2nd 3rd TOTAL
Toronto 2 1 3 6
Buffalo 0 1 2 3

First Period
Scoring: 1, Toronto, Sullivan 2 (Markov, Johnson), 10:28. 2, Toronto, Cote 2 (Sundin, Thomas), 10:46. Penalties: Sullivan, Tor (goalie interference), 4:25.

Second Period
Scoring: 3, Buffalo, Woolley 3 (power play) (Barnes, Zhitnik), 10:03. 4, Toronto, S Berezin 6 (Perreault), 15:25. Penalties: Sullivan, Tor (interference), 1:53; Bohonos, Tor (hooking), 9:07; R Warrener, Buf (holding), 10:28; Zhitnik, Buf (tripping), 18:35.

Third Period
Scoring: 5, Toronto, Perreault 2 (Valk, Yushkevich), 1:57. 6, Buffalo, Barnes 2 (power play) (Primeau, B Holzinger), 6:53. 7, Buffalo, Barnes 3 (power play) (Sanderson, Woolley), 9:47. 8, Toronto, Thomas 6 (Bohonos, Markov), 12:17. 9, Toronto, Valk 3 (empty net) (S Berezin, Perreault), 19:30. Penalties: D Ward, Buf (high sticking), 4:12; Cote, Tor (Ob holding the stick), 6:24; Cote, Tor (hooking), 8:51; B Holzinger, Buf (slashing), 9:20; Markov, Tor (slashing), 9:20; B Holzinger, Buf (interference), 13:37; Zhitnik, Buf (tripping), 15:36; Domi, Tor (elbowing), 20:00.

Buffalo 11 9 13 --33


Power-play Conversions: Buf - 3 of 5, Tor - 0 of 5. Goalies: Buffalo, Roloson (27 shots, 22 saves; record: 1-1-0). Toronto, Joseph (33, 30; record: 9-5-0). A:18,800. Referees: P Devorski, Marouelli. Linesmen: Collins, Murphy.

Sabre Sword's 3 Stars Swords of the Game

1. Yanic Perreault - Perreault had a goal and two assists and led the offensive attack for the Leafs in game two.

2. Stu Barnes - By far, Barnes has been a major offensive force for the Sabres as tonight he had two power play goals for the Sabres in their losing cause. I'm pretty safe to say that Barnes' scoring slump is over.

3. Toronto defense and Cujo - After the Leafs defense turned the puck over numerous times in game one, the Leafs defense was all-around solid and Cujo rose to the occasion after a shaky game in game one.