Toronto Maple Leafs @ Buffalo Sabres
07:00 PM at KeyBank Center
Watch on: MSG-B, SNO
The Leafs last played on Tuesday against the Rangers at home where they lost 5-2. Their record is 16-7-6.
The Sabres last played Tuesday against Columbus at home where they lost 9-4 (really). Their record is 13-17-3
Okay, what was that game against the Blue Jackets? None of those goals were empty net and each team had one power play goal. That was a straight up stomping at even strength, and it was mostly the goalie/defensive execution of the Sabres that did the deed. They were virtually tied in Corsi and CBJ had only a slight edge in Expected Goals. Do they even have a goalie?
The Sabres have three goalies:
- Devon Levi, who has 1.4 goals saved above replacement in 14 games
- Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen who is 4.2 under in 16 games
- Eric Comrie who is 4.8 under in seven games
Levi and UPL split that debacle on Tuesday, and they were both bad. One of them will be in net tonight.
Beyond the goaltending the Sabres aren't good at anything. Their offence is tepid and they never shoot from good locations, their defence is weak, and they allow a lot in close (hence the goaltending to some extent). Their special teams are also bad.
Read down the roster, and you would think they should have a better team; they deserve their standings points, though.
Jeff Skinner was on IR, and might be back, so the forward lines may look like those from practice
Lance Lysowski via Daily Faceoff are from yesterday.
Jeff Skinner - Tage Thompson - Alex Tuch
JJ Peterka - Dylan Cozens - Jack Quinn
Jordan Greenway - Casey Mittelstadt - Zach Benson
Eric Robinson - Peyton Krebs - Kyle Okposo
Rasmus Dahlin - Mattias Samuelsson
Owen Power - Henri Jokiharju
Erik Johnson - Connor Clifton
Everyone is telling me (and that includes Sheldon Keefe) that the poor Leafs played well and were undone in the Rangers game by bad luck and no power plays. I am not buying what everyone is selling. They struggled to get into good scoring position, and failed to hold onto the puck in the offensive zone. Bad bounces and penalties not called (which helped the Leafs given the relative strength of the power plays) are a handy excuse when the team worked hard. And they did, they worked real hard. But they didn't play well.
Getting into scoring position against the Sabres is easy, and they need to do it a lot. They should work hard tonight too, of course. And play well.
Max Lajoie and Pontus Holmberg have returned to the Marlies, so that means everyone is feeling better. Simon Benoit should be the extra tonight, and of course by next game there will be that extra forward back as well.
At some point Keefe has to commit to watching Ilya Samsonov in net again. Will that be tonight?
Matthew Knies - Auston Matthews - William Nylander
Tyler Bertuzzi - John Tavares - Mitch Marner
Nicholas Robertson - Max Domi - Calle Järnkrok
Bobby McMann - David Kämpf - Noah Gregor
Morgan Rielly - T.J. Brodie
Jake McCabe - Timothy Liljegren
William Lagesson - Conor Timmins
This is a game where the Domi line can win a matchup without careful usage. Or if they can't, they shouldn't be a line. That opens the door to all four forward lines having scoring chances.
Walk through the door, guys.