Ted Nolan wins in return to Buffalo bench

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The mere return of Ted Nolan and Pat LaFontaine gave suffering Buffalo Sabres fans something to cheer about on Friday. Even better, the Sabres didn’t just compete against the Toronto Maple Leafs, they managed a 3-1 win.

Trevor Smith was the only Maple Leafs player who could beat Ryan Miller tonight, as the American-born netminder stopped 32 out of 33 shots. Steve Ott seems like the exact type of guy who would flourish under a coach who loves hard-working players, so it’s no surprise that he had a strong night (one goal, one assist in 19:37 time on ice).

Maybe some will argue that there’s a placebo effect at work, but the bottom line is that plenty of observers seemed a little more positive about the Sabres, at least for one night.

Nolan and LaFontaine have a lot of work to do, but at least they’re off to a strong start.

(Photo via the Buffalo Sabres.)