After The Worst Loss Of All Time, the Leafs needed a win. Fortunately, the Buffalo Sabres came to town.
The Leafs dominated in every facet of this game – eye-test, fancy stats, everything. Think of how bad the Leafs can look at times, then think of that team absolutely dominating another team. Buffalo is bad. We saw just how bad tonight.
But despite outshooting the Rochester Ameri—Buffalo Sabres 17-4 in the first, the period ended 0-0. Michal Neuvirth was outstanding, and the game had a bit of a stink to it – could the Leafs somehow lose despite dominating?
Most of the second felt the same way. The Leafs continued to exit their zone at will and pepper Neuwirth with shots. Finally, with less than a minute left, the Leafs not only scored, but broke their horrendous PP scoreless streak.
Beautiful pass by Kessel, great finish by Bozak. As much as I don’t like Bozak 5v5, the guy is a special teams and breakaway wizard.
In the third, the floodgates opened. The Leafs added two goals a minute apart, the first one a funny one by The Thrill after a great shift by Santorelli. Man I love this guy.
JVR scored right after off a great feed by Rielly, who had two assists in the game. Five minutes later, Jake Gardiner did a Jake Gardiner thing.
Remember, Buffalo is an NHL team.
The Leafs outshot Buffalo 37-10, meaning Bernier got a 10 save shutout.
Pretty much everyone looked like a star tonight, but I’ll give it to Kadri. He’s not putting up a lot of points so far this season, but he is sticking to the process. He looked fantastic with Kessel and Lupul – all three of them did, actually. But his possession skills and hands added a new dimension to that line. They had tons of zonetime, and a lot of that started with Kadri. His points will come.
– Splitting the top two lines up worked tonight, but it’s still funny how the first goal (on the power play) was Bozak from Kessel. Of course.
– I really hope Santorelli stays with the Leafs beyond this year. He can do it all. Great versatile hockey player.
– The fourth line got a tiny bit more icetime tonight, with barely any coming from the PK. So that’s good. I thought Holland had a good game, but the line’s zone starts killed them and they didn’t end up great possession-wise. So that’s bad.
– Overall, this game is hard to evaluate. Leafs looked amazing, but against a terrible team.
EVERYONE GETS DOWN ON FRIDAY
Come back on Friday for coverage of the Leafs versus the Blue Jackets, which starts at 7 EDT on Sportsnet. Unless you’re going out for Halloween, then enjoy that. The Jackets don’t have Bobrovsky. The Leafs need to take advantage.