Quick Hits: Sabres at Maple Leafs

sabres leafs

Although the Toronto Maple Leafs are one of the worst teams in the National Hockey League, they gave Buffalo a run for their money tonight powered by some young, talented forwards.

Coming off a victory against the Ottawa Senators less than 24 hours ago, the Buffalo Sabres headed north of the border to take on the Toronto Maple Leafs. One would expect the Sabres to be playing with heavy legs with a short turn around, but that would not be the case early on.

Buffalo came out slow in the first period, only tallying 3 shots but the Sabres made 33.3% of those shots on goal count.

Brian Gionta found himself around the right faceoff dot, as Marcus Foligno possessed the puck. Foligno passed the puck to a waiting Gionta, who unleashed a nice snap shot from the right offensive zone faceoff dot, past Garret Sparks. This goal goes in the books as Gionta’s 10th of the season, at 4:31 of the 1st period.

After one period, it was evident that Toronto had an early advantage with their fresh legs but Buffalo headed into the intermission with a 1-0 lead.

The second period continued the trend of low-quality chances taking over play. Both teams combined for 16 total shots in the second period and it took about three-quarters of the period for one of the teams to get on the board. Unfortunately, it was the Maple Leafs who would take advantage of their offensive chances.

William Nylander was left all alone on the other side of the ice, as a large contingent of both Leafs and Sabres fought for the puck. P.A. Parenteau grabbed possession of the puck, completed an excellent no-look backhanded pass over to Nylander. An absolute no-doubter of a goal from William Nylander goes in the books as his 3rd goal of the season, at 14:55 of the 2nd period. This tied the game up at 1.

Buffalo only had amassed 12 shots after 2 periods, as it appeared fatigue may have finally began to catch up with the Buffalo skaters.

The third period brought more displeasure for the Buffalo Sabres, as they continued to drag along seemingly spent from all the previous action.

A handful of seconds into a 4-on-4 situation, Toronto found itself cashing in on the extra ice. Connor Carrick was left alone very close to the Sabres goal, as both Jake McCabe and Zemgus Girgensons tended to a more pressing issue. Carrick grabbed a rebound and shot the puck past Chad Johnson. Carrick’s 2nd goal of the season put Toronto up 2-1, at 6:56 of the third period.

Toronto’s third goal of the night resulted in over aggressive play from the Sabres. As Zach Bogosian was cross checking a Maple Leafs player to the ice, P.A. Parenteau broke away and got off a great pass. The puck found the stick of Martin Marincin, who put the puck home for his first goal of the season at 15:32 of the third period. Toronto now found themselves up 3-1.

Scoring would not end there for Toronto.

A little over a minute later, Colin Greening and Milan Michalek had a 2-on-1 heading up the ice. Michalek took the shot and it appeared to bounce off the arm of Chad Johnson and into the net. Michalek’s 7th goal of the season, at 16:46 of the 3rd period, pushed Toronto’s lead to 4-1.

The 4-1 score would go into the books as a final, with the Buffalo Sabres falling tonight in Toronto. This loss snaps a personal 5-game winning streak for goaltender Chad Johnson and drops the Sabres season record to 29-34-10.

Here are your quickest of hits:

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    • Ruthless Aggression.

Man, I love seeing the Sabres be aggressive and really stick it to their opponents when it comes to hits and scrums. People love the brawling, ya know?

The only downside I’m continuing to see is the over-aggression causing the Sabres opportunities or goals. Toronto’s 3rd goal comes into mind when I mention this. Aggression is nice, it might help set the tone in a game where your team is not at 100 percent. When the aggression starts costing you goals or opportunities, maybe you should tone it down a little.

Maybe I’m just an old man yelling at the clouds as I shoo children off my lawn? Either way, don’t develop those bad habits of costing your team goals/opportunities when things are still bad because chances are, they’ll become your go-to when the team actually needs the players to be good.

With that being said, I think there are some damn kids on my lawn again. g2g brb.

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    • Eichel (sick) Tonight.

About 4 hours before tonight’s matchup with the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Buffalo Sabres completed an emergency recall of forward Dan Catenacci.

Speaking before the game, head coach Dan Bylsma said that Jack Eichel was suffering from the flu, something that flared up as the day went along. Eichel’s immune system impingement caused him to miss tonight’s game. This is the first game of Jack Eichel’s NHL career that he had missed. Bummer, man.

    • That’s a lot of hockey.

Tonight’s matchup against the rival Toronto Maple Leafs marks the 200th time in franchise history that these two teams have played. Over the years, Buffalo has gotten the better of Toronto, as told by the 110-64-26.

There is no better feeling than when the Buffalo Sabres defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs (I mean love making probably) but unfortunately, the Canadian hockey stick puckers had different plans.

America is better than Canada. Suck it, Canada.


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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