Cujo stops 30 shots as Leafs beat Sabres, even series
Posted: Wednesday May 26, 1999 01:19 AM
Midway through the first period, Stu Barnes broke in alone on Joseph in a bid to score the game's first goal. But Joseph smothered the hard shot, and less than two minutes later the Leafs had a 2-0 lead and were on their way to a 6-3 win that squared the Eastern Conference finals at a game apiece.
It was sweet revenge for Joseph, who was beaten for five goals on just 21 shots in Buffalo's 5-4 win in Sunday's opener.
"You want to make those saves early," said Joseph, who finished with 30 stops. "You want to give your team confidence."
"Joseph was his old self tonight," said Garry Valk, who scored the game's final goal into an empty net in the last minute. "He was moving the puck well, yelling, and doing a lot of talking. He was a big boost."
Sullivan was called for goaltender interference just 4:28 into the game as Toronto seemed intent on rattling Roloson.
Despite several standout saves in the opening minutes, the 29-year-old netminder fell victim to a flurry of shots at 10:28. Sullivan slammed home a rebound from in front of the goal crease after Roloson had stopped close-in shots by Daniil Markov and Mike Johnson.
After the ensuing faceoff, Cote got behind the Buffalo defense at center ice, took a perfect feed from Mats Sundin, and beat Roloson from in close on a breakaway at 10:46.
"We got off to a good start," said Joseph, who allowed three power-play goals. "'Our defense let me see the shots."
Jason Woolley pulled the Sabres within 2-1 with a screened shot that sailed past Joseph at 10:03 of the second. But hopes of a Buffalo comeback seemed to vanish just over five minutes later after an icing call against the Sabres. Yanic Perreault won the ensuing faceoff deep in Buffalo ice and got the puck to Sergei Berezin in front of the goal, and he flipped it past Roloson at 15:25 for a 3-1 lead.
"You can't do anything about those," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. "He made several key saves at key times to get us back in the game."
Roloson, who allowed the three goals on just 15 shots and finished with 27 saves, faltered again at 1:57 of the third when Perreault slipped a backhander past him from a severe angle near the edge of the right circle for a 4-1 Toronto lead.
But the gritty Sabres weren't finished. Barnes capitalized on two penalties to Cote and scored power-play goals at 6:53 and 9:47 to narrow the Toronto lead to 4-3.
"We're a hard-working team and we take pride in that," said Barnes. "Even though we were down 4-1, we wanted to try to win and we continued to battle. It's disappointing to come that close."
Pressing the attack again, the Sabres were victimized by Steve Thomas, who scored on a 3-on-1 break with 7:43 remaining.
The series shifts to Buffalo for the next two games, with Game 3 set for Thursday night. Whether Hasek, the two-time league MVP, will be able to play remained a mystery as he continued to receive treatment for a chronic groin injury.
And what to expect was anybody's guess -- 18 goals in two games left people wondering what happened to the supposedly defensive style that teams adopt when the Stanley Cup's on the line.
"In the playoffs, crazy things happen," Woolley said. "We were behind the 8-ball early, we had a couple of breakdowns, and they took it to us."
Copyright © 1999 CNN/SI. A Time Warner Company.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.