It had come to the point where going to Buffalo Sabres games just wasn't fun anymore. Some season ticket holders ended up just giving away their tickets, and they had a hard time convincing people to take them. I had come to the point where I dreaded going to games because I couldn't stand watching the Sabres sleepwalk through games.

But boy, did that change this week. With Pat LaFontaine hired as the new head of hockey operations and Ted Nolan back behind the bench as head coach, the Sabres were inspired on Friday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs. They played with conviction, with drive, with intensity and with passion, and earned a 3-1 win.

Marcus Foligno had the go-ahead goal with a perfect pass on a 2-on-1 rush. Foligno says the team was inspired by Nolan to play.

Steve Ott says a weight has been lifted off the locker room.

Christian Ehrhoff sealed it in the final minute with an empty-net goal on a shot from his own end. And that came just after he saved the game by stopping a Leafs shot at a wide open net with Ryan Miller out of the play.

Ehrhoff says they're starting from scratch.

Nolan says he couldn't help looking up into the stands because the fans are supposed to be having fun.

The Sabres and Leafs play again Saturday night in Toronto.