Series (Game 1 of 5)

Toronto leads 3-2

Game 1: Friday, November 15th
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Game 2: Saturday, November 30th
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Game 3: Friday, January 24th
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Game 4: Thursday, March 6th
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Game 5: Saturday, March 22nd
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Maple Leafs 3

(6-9-0, 14 pts)

Sabres 2

(3-10-0, 9 pts)

7:00 PM ET, November 15, 2002

First Niagara Center, Buffalo, New York

1 2 3 T
TOR 0 3 03
BUF 1 0 12

A. Mogilny (Maple Leafs - RW): Goals: 2, Assists: 0

D. Kalinin (Sabres - D): Goals: 0, Assists: 2

E. Belfour (Maple Leafs - G): Saves: 35, Save Pct.: .946

Mogilny lifts slumping Leafs over Sabres

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) -- Alexander Mogilny couldn't care less who the Maple Leafs' next opponent is -- even it's the Detroit Red Wings with former teammate Curtis Joseph making first trip back to Toronto.

Mogilny was more focused on getting the slumping Maple Leafs a win on Friday, which he did by scoring goals 2:13 apart in Toronto's 3-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres, who are now winless in their last 10 games.

"I don't care. It's just another hockey game,'' Mogilny said, referring to Saturday's game against Detroit. "We need something to get going. We haven't had too many breaks go our way. We need to build on something, so it was nice to see.''

Mikael Renberg also scored and Ed Belfour stopped 35 shots for the Maple Leafs, who erupted for three second-period goals in less than three minutes to overcome a 1-0 deficit.

Toronto, coming off Tuesday's 4-3 overtime victory over Los Angeles, won back-to-back games for the first time this season while also ending a seven-game winless streak (0-5-2) at Buffalo -- dating back to Feb. 17, 1999.

Belfour, who has drawn criticism as Joseph's replacement this season, also wasn't going to get caught looking ahead.

"We're trying to get our game back on track,'' said Belfour, who joined the Leafs as a free agent last summer after Joseph signed with the Red Wings. "We had a big overtime win and tonight we had to make sure that we came out and played hard to get another two points.''

Stu Barnes and Tim Connolly scored for the reeling Sabres. The 10-game winless skid (0-8-2) matched the second longest in franchise history, and is two short of the record set in the 1991-92 season. Buffalo has also lost five straight for the first time since dropping seven in a row during the 1993-94 season.

Their record falling to an NHL-worst 3-10-3, the Sabres are off to their second-worst start in franchise history, going back to 1970-71, their inaugural season, which they opened 3-11-2.

Sabres coach Lindy Ruff refused to blame his team's effort, but was discouraged by a lack of finish.

"We skated as well as we've skated through this ordeal we're going through,'' Ruff said. "When you break it down, it's the prime scoring chances that we missed.''

Chris Gratton alone had two great opportunities in the final three minutes but was foiled both times, including a rebound chance which Belfour stopped while sitting with his back inside the net.

The Sabres, the NHL's most penalized team, also lacked discipline, giving up two power-play goals.

Gratton was more unhappy with the number of penalties his team took, seven in all, including four straight in the second period.

"We took a couple of penalties we didn't need to take,'' Gratton said. "Everybody should be aware, especially us in the predicament we're in.''

Renberg tied the game with a power-play goal at the 15:24 mark of the second period, converting a rebound off of Jyrki Lumme's point shot.

Mogilny made it 2-1 with a power-play goal, scoring in similar fashion, slipping in a rebound after Sabres goalie Martin Biron stopped Bryan McCabe's shot.

Mogilny then followed up with his team-leading 10th goal, giving Toronto a 3-1 lead, scoring on a short-handed breakaway after Connolly failed to handle a high clearing attempt.

Game notes

Mogilny, who spent six seasons in Buffalo during the 1990s, almost doubled his goal total against his former team, after managing just three goals in his previous 12 games versus Buffalo. ... The Sabres had no update on RW Maxim Afinogenov, who was scheduled to be examined by NHL concussion specialist Dr. Charles Burke in Pittsburgh earlier in the day. Afinogenov, who says he was struck in the head by a puck prior while working out in Russia prior to training camp, has yet to play a game this season, experiencing post-concussion symptoms. ... Sabres D Jason Woolley cleared waivers after he was released on Wednesday, but has yet to be assigned by the team.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press