clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Recap: Leafs squander a dominating performance by Frederik Andersen, lose 5-2 to the Sabres

Egor Korshkov is the only bright spark in a very dank and nasty game.

Toronto Maple Leafs v Buffalo Sabres Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images

It’s SEGABABA time! For me too. Someone else got a better offer than watching a Sabres game, and I’m filling in. Therefore, I’m giving this a SEGABABA effort, and I plan to just watch Egor Korshkov play — what do you figure? 5 minutes? — in his NHL debut.

Leafs lines tonight:

Sabres lines:

Will this be the Eichel scores a hat trick Sabres or they look like they’re tanking again Sabres? We’ll find out.

First Period

Disappointed the fourth line doesn’t start the game (<—- this is a joke).

Duelling chants from the fans already, I love this stuff, just like a European game. So much fun. Let’s get a second Toronto team.

Whee! Kappy on a breakaway, this looks just like last night. No goal, though.

Oh, fourth line, and Korshkov with a pass to the net. And then Korshkov with a hit to a Sabre, but I think the resulting injury was a wild stick to a bystander.

Nylander with this epic of puck control along the right boards while the Sabres watch him. He ends up having to dish it to Dermott and the play dies, but that was fun.

Oh, hey, Freddie finally has to make a save. He looks fine tonight so far.

Yeaaah, fair call on that little flurry Andersen just weathered, but when was it ever not thus?

Gonna read into this because I can: Liljegren and Sandin are behind the Matthews line, and Liljegren has to jump up because all three forwards are playing LW and the puck squirts out the right side. Matthews comes back to the blueline to cover, but Sandin immediately gets the puck and... lets Matthews move up and feeds him with a pass.

I like Rasmus Sandin.

There is an at-least three-alarm dumpster fire moment, but Andersen makes the save on Victor Goalofsson, so that’s a positive sign.

We get another fourth-line shift, and I’m forced to ask if Mason Marchment, who can be very tenacious on the puck, isn’t just a little too slow in the reaction time for the NHL.

Broadcast is now wittering on about “needing production” from the defence, which we should all understand comes randomly, not regularly. Also, you know, maybe defencemen aren’t very good at scoring goals, in general? Just a thought.

Leafs are turning the puck over a whole lot instead of starting one of their possession cycles. The Sabres have some defensive chops, so much like vs the Sens, they might need to play a rush game tonight.

Leafs do an absolutely shambolic line change while the Sabres have the puck heading into the Leafs zone. Just absurdly bad. It starts with Korshkov running into Spezza, and then the whole trio just turn to the bench and IGNORE the Sabres player, IN FRONT of all three of them INCLUDING Jason Spezza, shooting the puck in. The Matthews line ambles out while Andersen makes a save.

The start of it:

So Sandin left the ice after blocking this shot:

Andersen puts out another four-alarm fire. Wow.

This turns into one of those “is it in” video replays, so we now pause. The call on the ice is no goal, so to overturn that, the video people have to be 100% sure.

No goal. Close call, though.

The Tavares line gain the zone, and the Matthews line takes over for the most effective bit of pressure in some time.

Yikes, Jake Muzzin takes a puck right off the mouth, and he goes immediately off — there’s less than 30 seconds left, so he should, doubly so, because that’s a head hit.

Leafs finish the period with four D, let’s hope they start the second with at least five.

Thoughts

  • Much like in period one vs the Sens, the Leafs failed repeatedly to get their possession game going.
  • Much like in all of the game vs the Sens, the Leafs allowed a lot of top-quality chances against.
  • Andersen pulled their asses out of the fire this time, but maybe, just maybe the most expensive team in hockey shouldn’t need superman in net to beat crappy teams!
  • That’s what 77% xG for the Sabres looks like.
  • The amazing part is actually the small set of decent chances the Leafs got out of 10 unblocked shots.

Second Period

You played like ass and weren’t scored on, Leafs. Don’t waste that gift.

Muzzin is back, Sandin isn’t, and I’m totally not panicking. You’re panicking. I’m fine.

And if that isn’t enough, the Leafs get a weak chance, and the play comes back the other way, and of course, the D were all out of position, so it all goes to hell:

1-0 Sabres

For reasons that make no sense, Mason Marchment started out on the Tavares line in for Kerfoot. Are we playing NHL hockey or are we goofing around developing prospects and sending messages with the line blender?

Olofsson gets a post and this game looks in danger of unravelling.

The result of that stupid promotion of Marchment is Clifford with Spezza and Korshkov, and they get a really nice bit of passing going. Ends on a hand pass, unfortunately.

There is a period of dumpster fire until Nylander gets the puck out only to lose it immediately. The dumpster was still smouldering, and the Leafs stir it back up to an inferno when Muzzin gets stuck out after blocking a shot and can barely move.

Just to be perfectly clear: The Leafs look like they should be selling at the deadline and tanking.

Matthews gets a post (it seems like Carter Hutton got a piece of it on replay) off a great Marner pass, just to prove they are still alive.

Yeah, that didn’t last.

The Leafs get running around like the proverbial chickens, and the inevitable happens:

2-0 Sabres

Sandin has returned.

GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAL

I was starting to type that the Spezza line really clicked with Clifford in for Marchment, and then they reallllly clicked. Let me find all the views of this lovely first NHL goal for Mr Korshkov:

That point to the passer is a trademark of his. I don’t think he talks much to the other guys, but he makes sure they know how he feels.

2-1 Sabres

The Tavares line get hemmed in, and it’s painful to watch. Travis Dermott ends it with a penalty.

The PK is 90% Andersen, as the Leafs can’t break up the Sabres PP, which to be fair, isn’t all that good. Kappy ends it with a breakaway and they run out the clock on the penalty.

Leafs get totally hemmed in, and the Tavares line can’t escape. Freddie has it. Somehow.

Spezza was on the Tavares line, so Korshkov has a new centre: Auston Matthews.

Jake Muzzin brings that to a sorry end by taking a tripping call though. No fun is to be had in this game, it seems. Weak call.

The period ends before the power play.

Thoughts

  • Leafs managed identical unblocked shots in that one, and held the Sabres to 14 instead of 24, so that’s sort of better.
  • KORSHKOV
  • Sandin played two shifts after he came back, one tiny one, and one part PK, part regular one.

Third Period

The Leafs can win this. They just have to play to their strengths and against the Sabres weaknesses. It worked against Ottawa.

The Leafs have more offence from their top six in the first two minutes of this period than in most of the second.

Scooooooooooooooores. Yeah, baby.

Zach Hyman ties the game because he loves us best.

2 All

Really great team goal there. A full unit of glory.

Yikes, and Kerfoot damn near gets one. It’s on, Sabres, best team over 16 minutes wins.

I found the Leafs, guys. They were here all the time!

Bah. Leafs take yet another tripping call. Too many defence under pressure penalties in this game. Way too many. Muzzin again.

Marner starts the PK, and I’m curious to see if he plays it all. They almost take a too many ment penalty trying to change because that’s just how they are tonight.

And Marners does play it all, because the Sabres take the lead on a great Eichel shot. Sigh. Le Sigh.

3-2 Sabres

Yeah, okay. Less than a minute later a bad play by Sandin means the decision is in on who played it better.

4-2 Sabres

And then what happened?

5-2 Sabres

I found the Leafs, they were here all the time.

And that’s the game. They wrecked Korshkov’s night, and they wasted a goalie performance that’s been all too rare this season. They can play out 12 minutes, I don’t have to.

Thoughts

I am just going to go back to this:

  • Much like in all of the game vs the Sens, the Leafs allowed a lot of top-quality chances against.

Eventually, even superman folds when you do that. But on top of that, when you do that, when you have no clue how to defend, you take penalties under pressure, and the Leafs took three. Now, I bet you can complain loudly about the calls that were wrong or how unfair it all is and the refs are terrible, and the penalties should be even for it to be fair, but the Leafs take penalties because they can’t defend. Period.

And that’s not even to begin to discuss how bad the $53 million in forwards were at offence and driving play.