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Toronto Maple Leafs' Tyler Bozak (42) is congratulated by teammates Phil Kessel (81) and Jake Gardiner (51) after scoring on the Buffalo Sabres during second period NHL action in Toronto on Tuesday, October 28, 2014.

Frank Gunn/THE CANADIAN PRESS

The tweet was missed by many, and the promotion didn't last long.

But there it was, a little after 2 p.m. on a game day, from the official account of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Tickets were half price.

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Now, they were merely single seats, meaning you had to sit by your lonesome and make a new friend, as the promotion cheekily suggested.

But it was also a first by the Leafs. It's an initiative the organization says is "to provide fans with more access" to games, one that they picked up from "other high-demand teams" such as the Los Angeles Kings.

Judging from how hostile the Air Canada Centre crowds have been this year, it may well be a necessary one.

The Leafs steamrolled the struggling Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night, helping Toronto bump its slump with a 4-0 win, and enabling Buffalo to continue its torrid pursuit of the first overall draft pick in 2015.

Regardless of who it was against, the victory was a much-needed confidence-booster for the Leafs, in large part because they have to regain something resembling home-ice advantage at the ACC.

Even with the dominant showing against the NHL's weakest club – with the play confined almost exclusively to the Sabres' end – it was remarkably quiet in the arena for long stretches early on, as has been the case for all six home games.

Only once it turned into a slaughter– with three Leafs goals in the third period and the Sabres running around like the Washington Generals – were fans finally on their feet.

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Noticeably absent was some of the fan-generated nastiness of other nights: jerseys thrown on the ice, extensive booing at the end of periods and large portions of the crowd leaving early.

To hear Leafs players tell it, that surliness has hurt them in several ways, even spilling over to the rest of the city, making it difficult to show their faces after a particularly bad game such as the 4-1 dud they played against Boston on Saturday.

"I would have loved to go out and watch football and have a beer on Sunday," alternate captain Joffrey Lupul said. "But I had to do that from my couch. It's never a good feeling."

At 31 and playing with his fourth NHL team, Lupul isn't new to the situation. Asked if the Leafs fans have been quicker to turn against the home team than elsewhere, he pointed out he had spent time in Philadelphia, where Flyers fans are notoriously boorish.

What the Leafs have to guard against more than a fan uprising, however, is indifference. After an embarrassing 2-12-0 collapse to end last season, the home opener earlier this month against the Montreal Canadiens was deathly quiet. And Toronto didn't even play that poorly that night. Subsequent blowouts against Pittsburgh, Detroit and Boston have turned things even more sour, to the point players like Lupul have been critical of how quiet things have been. It's also something opponents have started to use against the Leafs, he said.

"I've got friends on other teams, and Buffalo's saying the same thing right now," Lupul explained prior to the game. "'Jump on these guys early, fans will get on them, they'll have another poor performance.' That's what every team's going to say when they come in here now. So we've got to be prepared for that."

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If this was the Sabres' best, you'd hate to see their worst. They were outshot 17-4 in the first, and 37-10 by the end of the game, and were outclassed by a Leafs team that almost never outshoots anyoneand has been terribly inconsistent early.

That kept the seats mostly full and the fans mostly happy until the final buzzer– with an especially big cheer reserved for Phil Kessel's clever bank-shot goal early in the third to make it 2-0.

Lupul said he can understand why it's been like that – up, down and nowhere in-between – given the way they finished last year, bombing out without making the playoffs. The Leafs have taken it upon themselves to turn it around, one win at a time.

"It's a new year, but they're kind of seeing – in their minds – the same old thing," Lupul said of fans. "The games we've played at home, we've played poorly, other than the Colorado game, so I understand the frustration.

"We've got to play a lot better, and people will be all right. Certainly, we want to make this a fun atmosphere. People pay a lot of money to go to these games, and it's nearly impossible to get tickets."

Although perhaps less than it used to be.

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