Ryan Miller threw a left jab during Friday's game. Afterward, he delivered a haymaker.
The Buffalo goaltender knocked out the Toronto Maple Leafs with a career-high 48 saves, helping the Sabres to a 3-2 victory. It was a game that kept the HSBC Arena crowd entertained from beginning to end, but it was the dressing room where Miller put on perhaps his most dynamic show.
The goalie, who improved to 5-0 against the Leafs this season, was glad to send the vanquished up the QEW with their 10th straight loss to the Sabres.
"I really don't like them," Miller said. "They're a rival. They're in our division. They're constantly talking about how they're going to rough me up every night. I love nothing more than to win against them and send them an hour and a half on their way."
Miller, who benefited from three power-play goals and a two-goal, three-point night by rookie Tyler Myers, said the Leafs talked openly of making it a tough game for the goaltender with traffic and pressure. He's had enough of the talk.
"The contact, I know it's coming, but it's ridiculous to have it in your pregame media, to talk about," Miller said. "Just do it. Don't tell me how you're going to be in my face.
"I just really don't like the way they address that stuff. If they want to get in my face, that's one thing. If they just want to play hockey, that's another. Hockey is about being in front of the net, being around the crease and making it tough on me. Just don't announce it and make a big show of it."
Miller retaliated with 12 minutes gone, dropping Matt Stajan with a punch from his glove hand.
"If you're going to cross-check me in the back of the head, take the punch like a man," Miller said.
Miller earned two minutes for roughing, the third straight penalty on the Sabres in the first period. Toronto took seven shots during the five-on-fours but couldn't solve Miller.
Buffalo's power play then got its chance. The Sabres made sure none of the Leafs who took a penalty had to sit alone for the entire two minutes.
Buffalo scored three power-play goals to demoralize the Leafs and anyone silly enough to trudge to the penalty box.
"Our power play hasn't been clicking this year so far at the rate that we'd like it," Sabres center Tim Kennedy said. "We had a good first period, but that all comes from our team killing off those first three penalties. That gave us a huge jump."
The Sabres got their break when Rickard Wallin's high-sticking penalty busted open Tim Connolly's face. They took two shots during the four-minute call. Both went in to draw cheers and groans from the usual mixed-allegiance crowd of 18,690.
Myers faked a slap shot from the top of the circles and set up Kennedy for a one-timer at the right faceoff dot. The center's shot was perfect, connecting just under the crossbar on the near side with 2:52 left.
The officials reset Wallin's penalty to two minutes, with the Sabres needing 91 seconds of it. Thomas Vanek waited for Myers to pinch and gave him a tap-in at the right side with 1:21 to go.
The Sabres' power-play hat trick came with 12:30 left in the second period. Vesa Toskala got in the way of Connolly's slap shot. The rebound, however, caromed directly to Myers. The defenseman didn't miss for his sixth goal of the season.
The Sabres tried hard to set him up for his seventh -- and his first hat trick since peewee hockey -- but he was stopped him twice.
"I'm not going to lie, I was battling pretty hard for it," Myers said. "It was fine that I didn't. More importantly, we got the win."
It wasn't easy. The Leafs, who took 18 shots in the first period, fired 22 during the third and scored twice.
Defenseman Luke Schenn's slap shot from the point sailed cleanly past traffic and Miller with 2:11 gone. When John Mitchell scored with 2:43 to go, the folks wearing a leaf on their chests were ecstatic.
Miller ended their fun. The win was the Sabres' sixth straight, their longest streak since a six-game run in December 2007.
The Sabres return to the arena tonight to host the Colorado Avalanche. Patrick Lalime is scheduled to start in net for Buffalo and will try to become the 66th goalie in history to record 200 victories.
"Everything they got in the third I think we gave to them," Myers said. "All the same, it was a great game for us."
Sabres 3, Leafs 2
Slap shots: Sabres continue mastery of Maple Leafs with 10th straight victory over rival. ... Sixth overall win in a row powered by three man-advantage goals. ... Myers scores twice, adds assist.
Fast fact: Tim Connolly set a career high by extending his point streak to eight consecutive games.Next game: vs. Colorado Avalanche, 7 tonight in HSBC Arena.