Going into last night’s game, the Maple Leafs had strung together two wins against the N.Y. Rangers and division rival the Ottawa Senators. Last night brought another test for the young Maple Leafs, the Buffalo Sabres. The game had the Matthews vs. Eichel story line to get both Fan bases excited for this one.
The game as a whole was a microcosm of what we have witnessed with this young Maple Leafs team. We saw the good, the bad that this young team has to offer at this point in their development.
The first period, the team looked timid and they weren’t able to mount much of attack at all. This is in stark contrast to what we saw in the previous two games before last night. Where the team came out flying and controlling the momentum and pace of the game.
Andersen’s poor clearing attempted lead to Buffalo’s first goal, than before the end of the period the Sabres had scored a second to take a 2-0 lead going into the intermission.
Than the second period started with a bang, Leafs scored a quick goal off of a Leo Komorov tip in and the Leafs were down 2-1 with plenty of time remaining to make this game interesting.
That one goal seemed to light a fire under the team and they started to play with more energy, more aggression and they used their superior speed in dominating the Sabres. In 77 seconds both Matt Martin & Auston Matthews were on the board and the Leafs had taken a 3-2 lead.
The third was much like the second with the Maple Leafs buzzing for the first half of the period and controlling the game in the Sabre’s zone. The Leafs power play which has been on fire lately saw its first action of the night, and in quick fashion James Van Reimsdyk scored to make it 4-2 for the Maple Leafs.
But hold of folks, the game isn’t over. As has been accustomed with the Maple Leafs they started to sit back allowing the game to be dictated to them. The Sabres cycled the puck deep in the Maple Leafs zone and with their goalie pulled managed to score making it 4-3 with time left remaining. But the Leafs managed to close out the game and earn a third win a row.
The game’s outcome was partially overshadowed by the injury to Morgan Reilly in the first period. The extent of the injury won’t be known until practice today when coach Mike Babcock is expected to provide an update on the injury and any time needed for recovery.
Next game: Maple Leafs vs. New York Rangers, 7:30 at the Air Canada Centre