Fortunately, the Buffalo Sabres don’t play the Toronto Maple Leafs during the playoffs. For some reason, the Maple Leafs simply didn’t show up against the Sabres last night. The result was a 5-2 loss to the team that has beaten them three times out of four this season.
The scores on the season have been 5-4 (Maple Leafs), 5-1 (Sabres), 5-2 (Sabres), and 5-2 (Sabres – last night). That really means that none of the last three games have been close. That’s exactly what happened last night. The game wasn’t close.
Takeaway One: There Was No Push from the Maple Leafs’ Last Night
From my perspective, there was no push from the Maple Leafs last night. Obviously, Maple Leafs’ head coach Sheldon Keefe felt the same way. He didn’t hold back. After the game, he told the media that “We showed that we were not interested in competing, playing, and winning.”
The Sabres are the only team to beat the Maple Leafs three times during the 2021-22 regular season. It was a deserved win, The Maple Leafs were flat and couldn’t compete with the Sabres’ work ethic.
The good news about Toronto’s first-round playoff opponent is that it won’t be the Buffalo Sabres. With their decisive 5-2 road victory Tuesday, the Sabres became the only club to beat the Maple Leafs three times this season. (@lukefoxjukebox)https://t.co/K16DJzI807
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) April 13, 2022
As noted above, the Maple Leafs were outscored 15-5 in the final three games the teams had played. Coach Keefe noted as much, “That’s four games against this team, and we have been no-shows in all four,” Maple Leafs’ coach Sheldon Keefe said. (from “Lowly Sabres lay one last beating on Maple Leafs to take season series,” Terry Koshan, Toronto Sun, 12/04/22).
Takeaway Two: The Sabres Shut Down Marner and Matthews
The Sabres once again managed to stifle the Maple Leafs Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner. For Matthews specifically, it was only the third time in 17 games that he didn’t score. The Sabres have been particularly tough for him. Over the four games he’s played against the Sabres this season, Matthews has had only one goal and one assist.
Marner had a 13-game point streak going. In those 13 games, he’d registered 28 points. Marner’s point steak ended. By the way, the last game in which Marner didn’t register a point was during the Heritage Classic in Hamilton against these same Sabres on March 13.
Takeaway Three: You Have to Feel Sorry for Erik Kallgren
I read one game review that said that Erik Kallgren has had an unimpressive slate of games. Is that really the case? There was one goal where he completely looked out of position. However, it’s hard for me to tell the other goals whether Kallgren was playing poorly or whether the team was playing poorly in front of him.
It seemed to me that the defense in front of the goalie was sometimes completely non-existent. The team didn’t compete offensively and defensively. Even on the power play, the team didn’t compete. The Sabres scored on two of their four power plays, the Maple Leafs went 0-for-5.
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