Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Buffalo Sabres

Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Buffalo Sabres
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The Maple Leafs open the season sequence tonight towards a Sabers crew mired in a seven-game dropping slide, however issues are hardly ever simple for the Leafs in a matchup between QEW rivals (7 p.m. EST, Sportsnet).

A 1-3-0 report towards Buffalo final season included losses by 5-2, 5-2 and 5-1 scores within the last month of the season after a 5-4 Leafs win to open the season sequence in November. Regardless of how poorly the Sabers had been enjoying coming into the sport, they all the time appeared to save lots of their greatest for the Leafs, who scored essentially the most targets in 4 contests.

Going into this Leafs-Sabres sport you have to throw out the season stats, the Leafs have been enjoying usually sound defensive hockey — eighth in targets towards, fifth in pictures towards — and are getting good goaltending (ninth general in proportion) however in search of options on the offensive facet of the rink. are

Regardless of the crew remaining within the backside 10 within the league in 5v5 offense after enjoying its ninth(!) sport of the season with one or fewer 5v5 targets towards New Jersey, Sheldon Keefe will stick to the very same lineup. Final two video games, which means Nick Robertson is on the sidelines once more tonight. This present lineup produced the Leafs’ most prolific offensive sport of the season earlier within the week in Pittsburgh when it scored a season-high 4 5v5 targets.

Recreation Day Quotes

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

Each season is new and each crew is totally different, however we undoubtedly talked about the truth that we did not do nicely towards this crew final yr. We need to get off to a superb begin tonight within the season sequence.

Once we noticed that, there have been instances we did not capitalize on our alternatives. At instances we did not defend nicely sufficient. They’ve actually good gamers. We felt and felt like we performed their greatest sport each time. We actually did not have ours. All these issues come collectively.

They’ve excellent gamers. Once you give them an opportunity, they will pay you for it. The identical occurred with our defensive sport. Even the wins we received had been adventurous and we needed to discover a means via loopy video games to make them occur.

The way in which we have been enjoying of late, we’re nicely ready to proceed to do nicely defensively. We’re speaking about pushing the offense and we wish that to occur.

Once we take a look at this crew and the challenges, it is similar to Jersey in some ways. A few of their key guys have a bit totally different dimension, however they’re a younger crew with a number of expertise. They’re coming at you in rushes and making performs within the offensive zone. Numerous our defensive scheme is much like Jersey.

Keefe on Nick Robertson out of lineup:

This can be a each day dialogue with us. When he isn’t enjoying, we be sure we’re working with him, whether or not it is the event employees or our personal teaching employees. You might be monitoring his each day actions, his workload and what he’s getting out of it.

We had a really quick observe yesterday, however I believed he was wonderful in observe. That is what you are in search of: Does he nonetheless have vitality? Is he nonetheless alive? Is he nonetheless pushing? That is what you are seeing.

By way of our lineup, we’re in search of some consistency as we have talked about. Whether or not he is right here or with the Marlies or no matter, it isn’t my choice; It’s an organizational choice. He’s right here. We need to proceed working with him and preserve him in our group.

It is likely to be a distinct dialog if it wasn’t a each day dialog that he desires and sees that he is somebody who may help us, however proper now he is right here. We need to proceed working with him.

As I’ve talked about earlier than, I do not like our guys sitting down too lengthy – any of them, however particularly the younger gamers. That is a part of why it is in that on a regular basis dialogue, however I believe we have to give our present kind extra time.

It is a day-to-day choice and we’ll see once more after tonight’s sport.

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

Anytime you are enjoying a crew as expert because the Leafs, if you are going to achieve success, you are going to say you bought some breaks and you are going to say you labored actually laborious. We have to play laborious and get our relaxation.

Granato on his crew’s mentality after seven straight losses:

I like the place we’re. It has challenged us to a stretch. A problem with a youthful group is sweet. If we had been a gaggle of 30-year-olds, it will be devastating. They’re going to say, “Oh no, right here we go once more,” and escalate any points. With younger kids, they see alternatives for development and backbone. They see that they will do it.

They usually can. Younger gifted kids recuperate from adversity. It’s going to make us higher. I believe our children are regaining that perspective. I believe he took us out of it mentally. We had to enter desperation mode. I believe we have come out of it and have a greater mentality to play aggressively and play with good vitality.

We had been enjoying with hesitation and concern of creating errors in the previous couple of matches. Once you do this, this league will run over you. I like the place we’re at this time. We are going to see.

Granato on Ilya Libushkin’s contribution:

Boosh is nice. We have now requested him to do rather a lot in 4 or 5 video games a yr with out Samuelsson and Jokiharju. He needed to transfer as much as second pair on D. He carried out nicely and was injured himself. He needed to play via an harm.

I believe he’s nonetheless nursing a bit. He is executed all the things we have requested of him as a aggressive man and an awesome teammate. We’re hoping that as we get wholesome, the entire group on the market could have an opportunity to only play video games as an alternative of doing greater than we’ve to do to compensate for accidents.

We’re delighted to have him and stay up for the journey forward with him.

Granato on the first-overall choose of Owen Energy’s first 17 video games within the NHL:

He is excellent and constant in studying and making use of in a really quick span of time. He absorbs what is occurring and adapts and re-adapts in a short time. For him is Rasmus Dahlin, who’s enjoying rather well.

A yr in the past at this time, Rasmus confronted many challenges. I took a number of questions on what went improper with Rasmus. He simply lived as much as the problem of being a younger man within the NHL. I believe he helps Owen fairly a bit. Owen helps himself a bit. Two spectacular individuals who work nicely collectively.

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

It is all beginning to come collectively – all of the laborious work he is put into his profession, the numerous tribulations and challenges which have taken him out mentally through the years. On this league, you will get in your individual head actually, actually rapidly. Perhaps it is laborious to get out till the offseason.

As for Rasmus, he has had each constructive and destructive experiences, which actually places him in an awesome perspective. He’s a competitor who trains laborious. He has made himself larger, stronger and quicker. He research sports activities. He has made himself good.

He broke the edge. He now is aware of that he could be a nice participant at any second in any sport. He has the foresight and knowledge of many experiences, each good and unhealthy.

Toronto Maple Leafs Projected Traces

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

#44 Morgan Riley – #18 Jordy Bain
#55 Mark Giordano – #3 Justin Corridor
#38 Rasmus Sandin – #37 Timothy Liljegren

Starter: #30 Matt Murray
#50 Eric Kallgren

Further: Nick Robertson
: TJ Brody, Jake Muzzin, Ilya Samsonov

Buffalo Sabers projected traces

#53 Jeff Skinner – #72 Divas Thompson – #89 Alex Tuch
#22 Jack Quinn – #24 Dylan Cozens – #77 John Jason Peterka
#19 Peyton Krebs – #37 Casey Mittelstadt – #71 Viktor Olofsson
#74 Rasmus Esplund – #8 Riley Sheahan – #29 Vinny Hinostroza

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

*Outdoors, substitution is a sport time choice

Starter: #1 Ukko-Pekka Lukonen
#41 Craig Anderson

wounded: Matias Samuelsson, Kyle Okposo, Eric Comrie

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