The Buffalo Sabres found a cure for their offensive woes. A new division rival.
The Sabres broke out of a scoring drought in which they had been shut out in two of their past three games.
The game was the first the two teams played as members of the same division since 1981 after Toronto moved to the Northeast Division this season.
"We knew this was going to be a great game with a lot of intensity," Barnaby said. "It's a rivalry we're going to have for a long time."
Dominik Hasek made 36 saves and had his bid for back-to-back shutouts spoiled with 5:46 left on Mike Johnson's shorthanded goal.
Grosek got Buffalo started 4:13 into the game when his rebound off Miroslav Satan's shot beat Toronto goaltender Curtis Joseph.
The physical first period featured a pair of fights between Buffalo's Rob Ray and Toronto's Tie Domi.
"Rob Ray set the tone for
the hockey game," said Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff. "If you're going to give us a victory, ive it to him. He neutralized Tie Domi."
Buffalo's Rob Ray (32) and Toronto's Tie Domi (28) tangle in Friday's game. (AP)
Barnaby and Plante each scored his first goals of the season within two minutes of each other late in the first period to give the Sabres a 3-0 lead.
Barnaby's deflection off a pass from Richard Smehlik trickled off Joseph's pads and into the net at 15:38. Plante, who had been scratched the last four games in favor of more physical players, followed a shot by Jay McKee to make it 3-0.
Brian Holzinger's third goal of the season made it 4-0 late in the second period.
"They got three rebound goals and your goaltender shouldn't have to make two or three stops," said Toronto coach Pat Quinn. "One stop should be enough."
Hasek was on the verge of his 36th career shutout when he challenged Johnson, skating all the way out to the blue line. Johnson flipped the puck over a diving Hasek into the empty net.
The teams will meet again Saturday night in Toronto. Both Ray and Barnaby, who received a game misconduct late in the game, said to expect even more intensity and hard hitting.
"Stay tuned 'til tomorrow," Barnaby said. "It's going to be a war. If they pull the stuff they did tonight, we're going to finish it tomorrow (Saturday)."
The Sabres, who entered the game in last place in the Northeast Division, haven't lost at home to Toronto since 1991 and have an 8-1-4 mark in their last 13 meetings.
The Maple Leafs have converted just one of their last 39 power-play opportunities after going 0-6 against Buffalo.
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