Latest posts by Omar White (see all)
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Auston Matthews does it, but the Leafs fall to the trap. Despite the home like atmosphere in Buffalo, the Leafs lose 5-2. It’s ironic how the games that are “huge”, the teams have had their best performances but in games like these they play poorly. I guess that’s the definition of a trap game. It’s not all bad, the Leafs are still third in the Division despite Boston winning against the Islanders. However, this doesn’t mean this game is a write off. The Leafs need to take this two day break and shake off whatever happened tonight. This is the adversity. This is why management wanted the team to be competitive at the end of the season. And to Leafs fans, take a breath here. As bad as it looks, don’t lose the confidence and belief that you’ve had all season. They’ll figure it out.
It’s fitting that a person who most likely watched this rivalry between the Leafs and the Sabres growing up would get them in it. Rielly passes the puck to Komorov who breaks into the zone. He gets a good scoring chance on Lehner, but it is stopped. Here’s the moment when the Sabres have an oops. McCabe tries to pass the rebound out to Rodrigues, but he over commits and falls. Down the QEW Connor Brown (ya that doesn’t sound right) picks up the turnover in the slot. He changes direction and fires the puck past Lehner to tie the game. That was Brown’s 18th goal of the season, and the Leafs are now two away from having their fifth 20+ goal scorer.
Where do we start? The puck is dumped into the Leafs zone and Tyler Ennis makes a nifty no look pass to Ryan O’Rielly. The pass actually goes right between Kadri’s legs and O’Rielly tips it in to make it 1-0. The Sabres’ second goal came 15 seconds after Brown tied it, talk about deflating. Hunwick loses a battle against Gionta allowing O’Rielly to send the puck to Bogosian on the point who shoots. Marchenko loses the net battle against Kane, and he sends the rebound in to make it 2-1. That’s all for the first period, you’d think it stop there but let me introduce you to the penalty kill.
Martin is called for interference, and the (emphasis on then) second ranked power play gets a chance. This play was basically a boomerang. Jack Eichel gets the puck off the face-off to Kulikov then to Okposo. Okposo sends it to Kulikov over to a wide open Eichel who blasts it past McElhinney to make it 3-1. But you may be asking yourself, “McElhinney, I thought Andersen was starting”, and you’re absolutley correct. Andersen did not start the second period because of an upper body injury. It’s believed to have been caused after a scrum that had Kane fall on him in the first period. Anyway, back to the grease. Sabres take the PP% lead after Eichel gets the puck to Ennis, to Kulikov who scores through traffic. Eichel scores again later on similarly to the Kulikov goal but it’s even strength.
Leafs go 0/3 on the PP. Sabres go 2/2. Special teams mattered.
Some good to distract us from the bad, Leafs make some more history. A specific Leaf makes some history. Auston Matthews scores his champagne goal, number 34. He ties the record set by former first round pick Wendel Clark in 1985. The Leafs are in the Sabre zone, and Hunwick holds the line sending the puck to Nylander. He passes it back to Hunwick who shoots the puck at Lehner who kicks the rebound out to the right. Bad idea. Matthews is right there to get the puck and fire it in the net. Nylander is also continuing to make history as his assist on the goal extends his point streak to 10 games. How great is it that in the season where the Leafs history was meant to be celebrated, it’s also being repeated. Funny how that goal distracts you from the other things that happened in the game.
Tweets of the Game
This is when my granddad would stop watching and say… I'm sick of this sh…. #TMLtalk
— Doug Legg (@D_Legg911) March 26, 2017
— Matteo Pasculli (@TeoPasculli92) March 26, 2017