Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Buffalo Sabres

The Maple Leafs start the season sequence tonight towards a Sabers workforce mired in a seven-game shedding slide, however video games between the QEW rivals are hardly ever easy affairs for the Leafs (7 p.m. EST, Sportsnet).

A 1-3-0 file towards Buffalo final season included losses by scores of 5-2, 5-2, and 5-1 within the closing month of the postseason. a 5-4 Leafs win to start out the season sequence in November. Irrespective of how dangerous the Sabers had been enjoying going into the sport, they all the time appeared to avoid wasting their finest for the Leafs, who conceded far too many objectives over the 4 contests.

As a lot as you normally must throw out the season stats into these Leafs-Sabers video games, the Leafs are normally enjoying strong defensive hockey – eighth in objectives towards face, fifth in photographs towards – and so they’re getting good goaltending (ninth in total save proportion). conditions) however they’re on the lookout for options on the offensive aspect of the rink.

Even with the workforce nonetheless within the backside 10 within the league in 5v5 offense after enjoying their ninth (!) sport of the season with one or fewer 5v5 objectives scored towards New Jersey, Sheldon Keefe will ‘ follow the identical line from the workforce for the final two video games, which implies that Nick Robertson will stay on the sidelines once more tonight. This present lineup produced the Leafs’ most prolific offensive sport of the season in Pittsburgh earlier this week when it scored a season-high 4 objectives 5v5.

Recreation day quotes

Sheldon Keefe on Buffalo’s 3-1-0 file towards the Leafs final season and why his workforce struggled towards the Sabers final season:

Each season is new and each workforce is totally different, however we actually talked about how we did not do properly towards this workforce final yr for positive. We wish to get off to a very good begin within the season sequence tonight.

Once we checked out it, there have been instances we did not make the most of our alternatives. There have been instances we did not defend properly sufficient. They’ve superb gamers. It felt and appeared like we acquired the very best of them each time we performed them. Actually not ours. All this stuff come collectively.

They’ve superb gamers. Whenever you give them an opportunity, they will make you pay for it. That is what occurred rather a lot by way of our defensive play. Even the wins we acquired had been a bit daring and we needed to discover our method by way of some loopy video games to make it occur.

With the way in which we have been enjoying recently, we’re arrange properly to proceed to do a very good job defensively. We’ve got been speaking about pushing crime and we wish that to occur.

Once we have a look at this workforce and the challenges, it is vitally much like Jersey in some ways. The scale of a few of their principal guys is a little bit totally different, however they’re a younger workforce with quite a lot of ability. They’re coming at you on the frenzy and making performs within the offensive zone. Lots of our protection plan is similar to Jersey.

Keefe on Nick Robertson staying out of line:

It’s a each day dialog with us. When he is not enjoying, he makes positive we proceed to work with him, whether or not it is our personal builders or coaches. You’re monitoring his each day actions, his workload, and what he’s getting out of it.

We had a really brief apply yesterday, however I believed he was incredible in apply. That is one thing you are on the lookout for: Does he nonetheless have the power? Does he nonetheless have life? Is it nonetheless pushing? You’re looking at that.

When it comes to our line-up, we’re on the lookout for some consistency as we have talked about. As as to whether he is right here or with the Marlies or no matter, that is not my determination; it’s an organizational determination. It’s right here. We wish to proceed working with him and be round our group.

If it isn’t a each day dialogue of asking him in and seeing that he is an individual who can assist us, then possibly it is a totally different dialog, however for now, it’s right here. We wish to proceed working with him.

Like I stated earlier than, I do not like our guys sitting too lengthy – any of them, however particularly younger gamers. That is a part of why it is in that each day dialogue, however I believe it is necessary for us to offer our present imaginative and prescient extra time to develop.

It’s a day-to-day determination and one thing we are going to revisit after tonight’s sport.

Sabers head coach Don Granato on Buffalo’s 3-1-0 file towards the Leafs final season:

Any time you play a workforce as expert because the Leafs, if you are going to achieve success, you completely say you bought some relaxation and also you completely say you performed onerous. We’ve got to play onerous and make our breaks.

Granato on his workforce’s thoughts after seven straight losses:

I like the place we’re. It has been a stretch that has challenged us. The problem with a younger group is nice. If we had been a gaggle of 30-year-old guys, it might be devastating. They might say, “Oh no, right here we go once more,” and add any drawback. With younger boys, they see alternatives for development and backbone. They see that they will do it.

And so they can. Gifted younger males get higher by way of adversity. This may make us higher. I believe our boys are getting that angle again. I believe it took us out psychologically. We wished to enter desperation mode. I believe we’ve got studied that and we’ve got a a lot better mindset to play robust and play with higher power.

We had been enjoying fairly a bit within the final video games with laziness and worry of constructing a mistake. This league will run over you once you do. I like the place we’re at this time. We’ll see.

Granato on Ilya Lybushkin’s contributions:

Boosh has been nice. We’ve got requested him to do rather a lot with out Samuelsson and Jokiharju within the lineup 4 or 5 video games a yr. He needed to transfer as much as the second pair on D. He did a very good job, however he harm himself. He needed to play by way of harm.

I believe he’s nonetheless nursing a little bit. He has completed all the things we’ve got requested and extra as a aggressive man and a fantastic teammate. We simply hope that as we get more healthy, the entire group can get again on the market and play the sport as an alternative of making an attempt to do greater than they should to compensate for accidents.

We’re very completely satisfied to have him and we sit up for the highway forward with him.

Granato on first total decide Owen Energy’s first 17 video games within the NHL:

He has been very, superb and constant in studying and implementing in a really brief time frame. It absorbs what is going on and matures and comes again in a short time. It is good for him to have Rasmus Dahlin, who is actually enjoying properly.

Rasmus went by way of many challenges a yr in the past at this time. I raised quite a lot of questions on what was mistaken with Rasmus. He simply lived as much as the problem of being a younger man within the NHL. I believe it helps Owen rather a lot. Owen helps himself a little bit. Two spectacular guys who work properly collectively.

Granato on Rasmus Dahlin’s rookie season up to now (19 factors in 16 video games):

It is all beginning to come collectively – all of the onerous work he is put into his profession, all the issues and challenges which have taken him out of his thoughts for years. On this league, you get in your individual head very, in a short time. It is onerous to search out out possibly till the tip of the season.

For Rasmus, he has quite a lot of expertise, each optimistic and damaging, which he actually places into perspective. He’s a competitor who trains onerous. He has made himself greater, stronger, and quicker. He learns the sport. He has made himself higher.

He broke the edge. He now is aware of that he might be an elite participant at any time in any sport. He has the hindsight and knowledge of many experiences, each good and dangerous.

Toronto Maple Leafs projected lineup

#58 Michael Bunting – #34 Auston Matthews – #88 William Nylander
#15 Alex Kerfoot – #91 John Tavares – #16 Mitch Marner
#12 Zach Aston-Reese – #64 David Kämpf – #62 Denis Malgin
#47 Pierre Engvall – #29 Pontus Holmberg – #19 Calle Järnkrok

#44 Morgan Rielly – #18 Jordie Benn
#55 Mark Giordano – #3 Justin Holl
#38 Rasmus Sandin – #37 Timothy Liljegren

Begin: #30 Matt Murray
#50 Erik Källgren

Further options: Nick Robertson
: TJ Brodie, Jake Muzzin, Ilya Samsonov

Buffalo Sabers projected lineup

#53 Jeff Skinner – #72 Days Thompson – #89 Alex Tuch
#22 Jack Quinn – #24 Dylan Cozens – #77 John Jason Peterka
#19 Peyton Krebs – #37 Casey Mittlestadt – #71 Victor Olofsson
#74 Rasmus Asplund – #8 Riley Sheahan – #29 Vinnie Hinostroza

#25 Owen Energy – #26 Rasmus Dahlin
#23 Mattias Samuelsson* – #10 Henri Jokiharju
#78 Jacob Bryson – #46 Ilya Lyubushkin

* away, new location is a sport time determination

Begin: #1 Ukko-Pekka Luukonen
#41 Craig Anderson

Injured: Mattias Samuelsson, Kyle Okposo, Eric Comrie

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