Toronto Maple Leafs vs Buffalo Sabres
7:00pm – First Niagara Center (SportsNet)
Seems like we are set to battle for the bottom of the barrel in the Atlantic Division tonight. Currently our Toronto Maple Leafs are sitting at 6th in the division with a 1-3-1 record for a grand total of 3 points. We travel down the highway tonight, towards our international neighbors to the south, hopefully for what could be the start of a good future QEW battle. The Buffalo Sabres have a 1-4-0 record, holding last place in the Atlantic division with the grandest of totals…2 points.
On the bright side, at least we are not the Columbus Blue Jackets, who are holding their own in 2016’s greatest tank battles with an ever so impressive, 0 points through 7 games. Columbus fired head coach Todd Richards this morning, being replaced by Stanley Cup winning coach, John Tortorella.
Saturday night saw another well played game by our Maple Leafs but ultimately lost 2-1 to the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Leafs looked strong through 2.5 periods and controlled the puck well, but couldn’t capitalize on the scoring chances given to them. These back-to-back games are not easy and that was seen late Saturday when the steam just disappeared in the latter half of the third period.
Leo Komarov was the loan Leafs goal scorer, potting his third goal of the season. Jonathan Bernier stopped 31 shots in 60 minutes, letting only 2 go by before the halfway mark of the first.
For most Leafs fans, tonight brings the opportunity to watch young Jack Eichel of the Buffalo Sabres. The highly coveted 2nd overall pick in last years entry draft has already made his presence felt in box scores this season. At his young age he is averaging around 19 minutes of ice time and has potted 2 goals thus far.
Even Strength matchup should go to the Leafs, pending we stay out of the penalty box.
GF – 9
GA – 9
CF% – 52.3
SH% – 7.1
GF – 4
GA – 8
CF% – 51.7
SH% – 3.5
Undeniably, the play of Jake Gardiner has gotten better. Throughout the pre-season and these last five games, his blue line brain farts are at an all-time low. Tough news coming from Jonas Siegal this morning of TSN, as Gardiner will be out with undisclosed injury. Marincin likely gets the chance to slot in.
Being a fan of rough defensive players, Roman Polak has really been a disappointment thus far.
A defenseman that has done unsuspectingly well is Matt Hunwick. Quite possibly Mike Babcock’s favorite defender on the ice. In Chris Lund’s recent interview with Coach Babcock he explained how Morgan Rielly pay close attention to how Matt Hunwick plays the game.
Where can Rielly grow defensively?
“Just everything. All he has to do is watch Hunwick. Face the right way when he’s coming off the wall, he’s got to get his stick in the right places, he’s got to get gapped up, he’s got to keep ‘er under control until the right time. That’s part of being a kid. Now, he skates miles, I thought he played real good against Sid the other night who’s hard to handle in the corner. I thought he had his best defensive game of the year the other night. He made three plays probably that, I don’t even know if he’d like to have them back, I’d like him to have them back because of when you go and when you don’t go. He’s going to learn that over time. I think he’s doing great and we’ve got lots of guys who are getting better, which is a positive.”
In the same piece, Mike Babcock shared some thought on polarizing forward Nazem Kadri. Love him or hate him you cannot deny the fact Kadri has gotten better this season. If he can start playing with a mean streak every night, I would be sold on this kid sticking around past this upcoming trade deadline.
What do you think of the play of Kadri and his line?
“I think Naz has played better. I thought he played real well at the end of exhibition and then I thought he had his best game since I’ve been here in the regular season last game. He played a lot of the game against Malkin, I thought he played good defensive and created a lot of offence which is positive for us.”
Seems like Tyler Bozak may be out of the lineup for tonight’s game but coach Babcock is hopeful he could slot in. He was absent from practice yesterday with an undisclosed injury.
Do you think Bozak will be available on Wednesday?
“I think he’s going to be available. I said I thought he was going to be available for practice today but we held him off one more day so ideally he’ll be ready to go.”
Can you tell us what happened to Bozak?
“I could tell you.”
Complete Interview with Chris Lund here.
Ex-Leaf,Cody Franson, making his first start for Sabres vs. his former team
Anyways, since I dislike the Sabres for many reasons, I am hopeful to watch our Leafs tromp all over them tonight.
Go Leafs Go
Apple App update: I am currently waiting for the App Store to approve the app the second time around. Cross your fingers Apple Users, this time it might pass.
SIDENOTE: I have never programmed in x-code and am new to the language, please bare with me.
If you are an Android user, Leafs Hub is available for download at the Google Play Store.
Toronto Maple Leafs
JVR – Kadri – Komarov
Mathias – Holland – Boyes
Winnik – Spaling – Lupul
Grabner – Arcobello – Parenteau
Hunwick – Rielly
Marincin – Phaneuf
Harrington – Polak
Reinhart – O’Reilly – Ennis
Kane – Eichel – McGinn
Moulson – Girgensons – Gionta
Deslauriers – Legwand/Larsson – Foligno
Gorges – Ristolainen
McCabe – Pysyk
Weber – Franson
Today in Leafs History….
Today in Leafs history brought to you by …… @DoctorRobert
- 1938 – Former Leafs defensemen Carl Brewer was born in Toronto. Brewer won three cups with the Leafs during the 1960s.
- 1943 – Right-winger Larry Mickey was born in Lacombe, Alberta. He played 55 games with the Buds during the 1968-1969 season. Sadly, Mickey committed suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning in 1982.
- 1959 – Former Leafs goalie Vincent Tremblay was born in Quebec City. He played in parts of four seasons with the Leafs during the early 1980s.
- 1967 – Former Leafs winger Bill Berg was born in St. Catherines, Ontario.
- 1987 – The rival Canadiens barge into Toronto and embarrass the Leafs 10-3 at Maple Leaf Gardens.
- 2000 – Tie Domi and Steve Thomas score the Leaf goals in a 2-1 victory over the Flames in Calgary.
- 2002 – Leafs go winless for the fifth time in the first seven games to start the 2002-2003 season. This time falling 4-1 to the Boston Bruins at the ACC. Mats Sundin scored the lone Leaf goal, while Ed Belfour failed to stop four of 26 Bruin shots.
- 2014 – Phil Kessel scores two goals and adds an assist as the Leafs hammer the New York Islanders 5-2.
What stands out about a Bylsma-coached team? Babcock: “Well, I don’t know. I thought we were here to talk about the Leafs. Weren’t we?”
— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) October 21, 2015