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Maple Leafs disappoint a full arena for the first time, just like old times

What a terrible start to March.

Buffalo Sabres v Toronto Maple Leafs Photo by Kevin Sousa/NHLI via Getty Images

The Toronto Maple Leafs and Buffalo Sabres will meet in Hamilton on Sunday afternoon, to play outdoors at Tim Hortons Field. Tonight was a little preview of what we can expect outside.

The Maple Leafs feel charitable early on in the game, giving the Sabres a power play 90 seconds in when Alex Kerfoot is called for tripping. It takes about a minute, but the Sabres get one past Petr Mrázek when Jacob Bryson catches a clearing attempt at the blue line, shoots, and it gets redirected off Morgan Rielly and into the net.

1-0 Buffalo Sabres.

The Maple Leafs don’t give up after this, they keep trying to get a shot on Craig Anderson (the oldest goalie in the NHL), but the Sabres are good at keeping them away?

Halfway through the first period shots are 3-2 for Buffalo.

The Toronto Maple Leafs: They never want to hurt a bottom feeding teams feelings by beating them.

They won’t let them score easily (usually) though.

Rasmus Sandin wants to wake up the crowd, so he decides to score his first goal in Scotiabank Arena:

Game is all tied up 1-1.

The Maple Leafs start getting more control of the game from this point onwards, some more shots, more dekes, more passes.

The crowd gets loud, and on their feet for a few close calls when it looks like the Leafs will take the lead, but the period ends with a 1-1 tie, and the hope the Maple Leafs overtake the Sabres as they should.

The Maple Leafs come out in the second period continuing to control the game as they did late in the first, they even get their first power play chance after Kyle Okposo hooks Sandin.

The Leafs power play isn’t able to score, the Sabres dive to block shots and keep Craig Anderson from having to work too hard. The sticks spontaneously combusting doesn’t help.

The Sabres come close to retaking the lead when Jeff Skinner gets mixed up in front of the net, and Tage Thompson smacks the loose puck, but it goes over the net. A very close call. The Sabres get another chance to up the pressure on the Leafs, they hem the Leafs in their own end, setting up passes and plays like a power play, and after Mitch Marner tries to block a pass, the puck moves right onto Victor Olafssons stick and he scores to give the Sabres back the lead.

2-1 Buffalo with 7 minutes left in the second.

Michael Butning and Peyton Krebs get their sticks tangled and they start shoving and a mini-scrum happens after Craig Anderson freezes the puck.

Before that, this happens:

Coming close to the end of the period, The Leafs are unable to clear the zone and the Sabres get the puck to Tage Thompson who gets the puck in the top corner to make it 3-1 Buffalo.

The period ends with the Sabres up 3-1.

The Buffalo Sabres know that they can win this game, and come out in the third period playing like they will do just that. Lots of time in the Leafs end, lots of almost goals, and the Leafs aren’t acting like much of a threat to make a comeback.

Off a face off just outside the Sabres zone, Jeff Skinner jumps on a loose puck and comes in on Mrázek and scores to make it 4-1 Buffalo.

Can I leave the recap early to beat traffic?

I mean, the Leafs have clearly already gone home in their heads:

5-1 Sabres.

I got no advice for the Leafs, hopefully they’re still battling the virus that's been bouncing around the dressing room and that's why this game’s been a total write-off. No great saves, no taking control from a team in year 87 of their rebuild, not much coming from the top two lines.

Jason Spezza is called for hooking Casey Mittelstadt, no goal with the man advantage however, so one part of the Leafs is working, good for them. The penalty kill was the best part of this game for sure, and that's awful.

Near the end, Pierre Engvall and Rasmus Dahlin get into it in the corner to Andersons right, some shoving, a scuffle, if you will, all started by Dahlin pushing Engvall into Anderson.

That is the last thing of note, the game ends 5-1 for the Buffalo Sabres.

Five. For Buffalo.

It’s terrible.

This was terrible.

Anyway, the Leafs have two days off and don’t play again until Saturday night at 7 against the Vancouver Canucks. A middling team, a middling game?