Quick Hits: Maple Leafs vs. Sabres

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No matter the circumstances, whenever the Toronto Maple Leafs step into the First Niagara Center, it is an event.

For the first time this young NHL season, and the first of many to come, the Buffalo Sabres hosted the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Buffalo Sabres came out ready to go, as shown by the first period statistics.

A double-digit shot total for Buffalo, but no goals to show for.

Toronto on the other hand, they were able to get on the board.

A shot came from the point, off the stick of Roman Polak. P.A. Parenteau, stationed somewhat in front of the net, throws the blade of his stick on the ice and redirects the shot.

Sabres’ goaltender Chad Johnson was flat out beat. Johnson expected the shot to go to the right, but the deflection cleanly beat him on the left side. Sometimes the puck drops your way, other times it doesn’t. Toronto entered the first intermission with a 1-0 lead.

The second period was nothing to brag about, so I’m just going to move on. Y’all missed nothing.

Onto the third period. Ok, here we are now.

The Buffalo Sabres offense frustrates the hell out of me, see below.

In the third period, Sabres’ forward Evander Kane re-introduced himself to Sabres fans. First, Kane got in the face of Leafs’ captain Dion Phaneuf, gif below. Then, Kane scored his first goal with the Buffalo Sabres.

3-on-3 made its First Niagara Center debut, but that couldn’t solve the tie. A shootout would be in order.

After 5 shooters a piece, Matt Moulson would score the game-winning shootout goal for the Buffalo Sabres.

With this victory, Buffalo moves to 2-4-0 (4 points) on the season with the undefeated Montreal Canadiens (7-0-0, 14 points) heading into Buffalo this Friday night.

Let’s take a deeper dive into this game.

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    • Ocho Cinco Good.

Gorgeous deflection from P.A. Parenteau beats CJ. Parenteau on the shootout too.

Aside from P.A Parenteau’s absolutely beautiful tip on the Maple Leafs’ only goal, and his shootout goal (the only one for Toronto), Chad Johnson was untouchable in net.

Johnson brushed aside 23 of 24 shots, including a flurry of shots in overtime.

While we have all discussed/argued about Johnson’s role with the Sabres, it’s clear that he is a valuable goaltender for this team.

May not be as valuable if he starts half or more of a season, but take what you can get, when you can get it.

    • Jack Eichel is good at hockey.

I think the video does the trick. Eichel p good at hockey. Don’t be jelly cuz he aint yours, rest of the NHL.

    • Yawn

I wrote this during the second period. The game was pretty boring then.

    • Evander Kane introduces himself.

What is a good way for Evander Kane to have the fans fall in love with him? Check noted jerk hockey player Dion Phaneuf, moments after Phaneuf tried to blow his spot up.

Did Kane get away with a penalty or two? Absolutely. The check looked pretty nice though.

The crowd ate that up, and that was just part of Kane’s excellent night at the FNC.

Late in the third period, Kane scored his first Sabres goal and ensured Buffalo another shot at 2 points.

After the game, Evander Kane had all the right words to say.

“Fun exciting (game), good way to bounce back and squeak out a win,” said Kane. “Even though we got down early, we took the game to them, played with the pace to beat them.”

Watch out, this goal could be the first of many for Kane this season. I said on BLTD Extracast #5 earlier this evening that once Kane gets his first, the dam will be broken and things will get much, much better for Kane’s overall goal totals.

    • Offense is offensive, and shootouts suck.

At some point, the proverbial cork will pop off the bottle that is the Buffalo Sabres offense. When that happens, watch out National Hockey League.

So many chances for the offense tonight. SO MANY.

It really does seem like things are still not clicking. It has been 6 regular season games, so that absolutely makes sense. I’ve put a 15-20 game buffer on the team before making rash offensive assumptions. Things take time and patience in the sports world, and this Buffalo Sabres offense is no different.

Following the game, head coach Dan Bylsma spoke to the inability for the offense to put their great chances home.

“I think our execution can be better,” said Bylsma. “We had a couple nice plays, other opportunities that were right there. Those are the opportunities you want to have. They’ll eventually go in.”

On a side note, 3-on-3 hockey is the best idea ever. Thanks NHL.

On that same side note, aside from Tyler Ennis’ TV-esque slapshot and winning the shootout, the shootout sucks.

Written by Ryan Wolfe

Ryan Wolfe is the founder and editor-in-chief of BLTD Sports. He can be heard on the BLTD Podcast. Ryan's writing is also featured over at TheHockeyWriters.com.

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