Toronto Maple Leafs vs Buffalo Sabres

The Maple Leafs open the season collection tonight in opposition to the Sabres, who’re on a seven-game dropping streak, however the matchup between the QEW rivals is not straightforward for the Leafs (Sportsnet, 7 p.m.).

A 1-3-0 document in opposition to Buffalo final season adopted a 5-4 Leafs win in November adopted by a 5-2, 5-2, 5-1 loss within the closing month of the season. Irrespective of how poorly the Sabers have been taking part in coming into the sport, it appeared like they saved their finest for the Leafs, who had conceded too many objectives by way of 4 video games.

You may have to crunch season stats for these Leafs-Sabres matchups, however the Leafs are typically taking part in defensive hockey – eighth in objectives in opposition to, fifth in pictures in opposition to – and good goaltending (ninth in defensive proportion) however on the lookout for options on the offensive aspect of the rink. .

Towards New Jersey, a group with one or fewer 5v5 objectives scored in its ninth(!) recreation of the season, ending within the backside 10 within the league in 5v5 offense, however Sheldon Keefe will probably be within the lineup. Final two video games, which suggests Nick Robertson will probably be on the sector once more tonight. This present lineup had the Leafs’ most efficient offensive recreation of the season earlier within the week in Pittsburgh, scoring a season-high 4 objectives at 5v5.

Sport Day Quotes

Sheldon Keefe on Buffalo’s 3-1-0 document in opposition to the Leafs final season and why his group struggled in opposition to the Sabers final season:

Each season is new, each group is completely different, however we undoubtedly talked about not taking part in nicely in opposition to this group final 12 months. We need to get the season collection off to an excellent begin tonight.

Whereas watching, there have been instances after I did not benefit from my alternatives. There have been instances once we did not defend nicely sufficient. They’ve some actually good gamers. Each time we performed them, we felt and felt like we bought their finest recreation. We definitely did not have our personal. All these items add up.

They’ve excellent gamers. Should you give them an opportunity, they’ll pay you again. That occurred quite a bit with our defensive play. Even the victories we bought have been adventurous and we needed to discover our approach by way of some loopy video games to make it occur.

Judging by how we have been taking part in recently, we’re ready to do nicely defensively. We have been speaking about pushing the offense and we would like that to occur.

Taking a look at this group and the challenges, it is just like Jersey in some ways. A few of their finest guys are slightly completely different in dimension, however a younger group with good ability. They’re speeding you and taking part in within the offensive zone. Most of our defensive plans are just like Jersey.

Keefe on Nick Robertson not being within the lineup:

That is what we discuss day-after-day. When he isn’t taking part in, it is ensuring we proceed to work with him, whether or not it is the event workers or our personal teaching workers. You monitor his day by day actions, his workload and what he will get out of it.

We had a really quick follow yesterday, however I believed he was glorious in his follow. That is what you are on the lookout for: Does he nonetheless have vitality? Does he nonetheless have life? Is he nonetheless pushed? You see it.

As for our lineup, we’re on the lookout for stability, as we have talked about earlier than. Whether or not he is right here or with Marley or no matter, it is not my determination; that is an organizational determination. He’s right here. We look ahead to persevering with to work with him and hold him round our group.

If it is not a day-to-day dialog about wanting him in and discovering out he is a man who might help us, perhaps it is a completely different dialog, however proper now he is right here. We need to proceed working with him.

Like I mentioned earlier than, I do not like our guys sitting too lengthy – any of them, particularly the youthful gamers. It is a part of the truth that he is within the day-to-day dialogue, however I feel it is necessary to present extra time to develop our present picture.

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

Sabers head coach Don Granato on Buffalo’s 3-1-0 document in opposition to the Leafs final season:

Anytime you play a group as expert because the Leafs, when you’re profitable, you are going to say you bought some breaks, and you are going to say you performed arduous. We have to play arduous and get breaks.

Granato on his group’s mindset after seven straight losses:

I like the place we’re. It was a stretch that challenged us. The problem of the youth group is nice. If we have been guys in our 30s, it will be devastating. They are saying, “No, right here we go once more,” and compound any drawback. With younger individuals, they see alternatives to develop and make selections. They see that they’ll do it.

And so they can. Younger abilities overcome adversity and enhance. It’ll make us higher. I feel our younger persons are reviving this standpoint. I feel it took us out of it psychologically. We wished to enter desperation mode. I feel we bought a greater mentality to test it out and play aggressively and play with extra vitality.

In the previous few video games, we have performed slightly bit with hesitation and concern of constructing errors. Should you try this, this league will run proper over you. I like the place we’re as we speak. We are going to see.

In regards to the contribution of Granato Ilya Lybushkin:

Boosh was very nice. We requested him to do quite a bit in 4-5 video games with out Samuelsson and Jokiharju. He needed to transfer to the second pair on D. He was doing very nicely and injured himself. He needed to play attributable to harm.

I feel he is nonetheless nursing a bit. He was capable of do every part we requested and as a aggressive younger man and an amazing accomplice. Hopefully as we get wholesome, the entire group on the market will have the ability to simply play as an alternative of making an attempt to do greater than they should to compensate for his or her accidents.

We’re very completely satisfied to have him and look ahead to the journey with him.

Granato scored in Owen Energy’s first 17 NHL video games:

He discovered in a really quick time and was excellent and constant in his utility. He absorbs what is occurring, adapts in a short time and will get used to it once more. It is good that he has Rasmus Dahlin, who’s taking part in actually, very well.

Rasmus went by way of a variety of challenges a 12 months in the past as we speak. I requested a variety of questions on what occurred to Rasmus. He is simply lived as much as the problem of being a younger NHL man. I feel he helps Owen slightly bit. Owen helps himself slightly. Two nice guys who work nicely collectively.

Granato on Rasmus Dahlin’s season efficiency (19 factors in 16 video games):

It is all beginning to come collectively – all of the arduous work he is put in all through his profession, all of the struggles and challenges he is put by way of mentally over time. You will get in your personal head actually, actually quick on this league. It will be robust to get by way of the common season.

As for Rasmus, he is had a variety of expertise, each constructive and detrimental, and he brings a extremely nice perspective. He’s a competitor who trains arduous. He made himself larger, stronger and quicker. He research the sport. He made himself higher.

He broke the brink. He now is aware of he might be an elite participant at any level in any recreation. He has the knowledge of many experiences, 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-Rees – #64 David Kampf – #62 Denis Malgin
#47 Pierre Engvall – #29 Pontus Holmberg – #19 Calle Jarnkrok

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

Begin: #30 Matt Murray
#50 Eric Kallgren

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

Buffalo Sabers projected traces

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

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

*out and substitution are in-game selections

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

Broken: Matthias Samuelsson, Kyle Okposo, Eric Comrie

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