Game in 10: Game #19, Sabres 3 vs. Leafs 1

1019
Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images

Not unexpected, the Leafs couldn’t score and lost the game. Tough one to watch.

1 – The Leafs controlled play at even strength throughout much of the period, but the better quality chances went to Buffalo. The Sabres had the shot edge; two penalties of the period went against the Leafs, and they got caught twice on the fast break against the flow of play leading to the Sabres hitting a pair of posts. The Leafs were putting in the effort to try to grind this one out, with a committed cycle game and good work rate, but they were operating on the periphery the whole time and were not able to penetrate the good scoring areas. Jonathan Bernier made a ten-beller sprawling glove save on Tyler Ennis with 28 seconds to go on a powerplay that followed Kessel batting the puck out of mid air and over the glass for a delay of game penalty.

2 – Six minutes into the second, with a Raymond, Clarkson and Smith combination on the ice, Clarkson retrieved the puck in the corner, turned back and found Smith in the high slot. The puck must have taken a bounce off a defenceman in front because it was a nothing shot from Smith. The Leafs needed a bounce in the worst way, but unfortunately could not get another one after that. Clarkson’s primary assist was his second point on the season.

3 – Four minutes later in the second period, Fraser was assessed a cross checking call for clearing out a Sabre from the slot. It was a pretty weak call, but Fraser has to pick his spots when it comes to those type of tough plays in front as the refs love to call those when they’re a fair distance away from the net (which this one was). The Sabres evened the game on the ensuing powerplay, as a point shot fell in front of Bernier and Franson unknowingly backhanded it over to Ott for an empty net finish.

4 – Leafs were fortunate to go to the powerplay with 7 minutes to go. Gardiner gave the puck away in the neutral zone, and Foligno and Gardiner collided as Foligno tried to tow the line and stay onside, yielding a tripping call on Foligno. Some good chances on the powerplay went for naught, and the Sabres scored seconds after the expiration of the PP. Ranger and Fraser aren’t the fleetest of foot defence pairing and were caught in transition, as Ranger afforded Ott a ton of space down the left, couldn’t recover and got beat wide, while Foligno beat Fraser to the back post to finish off a cross crease pass and make it 2-1 Sabres.

5 – The Leafs had one of two big powerplay opportunities in the third with 14 minutes to go, and generated very little on much of it. Raymond may have scored in the dwindling seconds of the PP if it didn’t hit Clarkson in the shinpad. Raymond was looking skyward like it was going in after it deflected out of play.

6 – The other powerplay opportunity came with four and a half minutes to go, and boy was it ugly. The Leafs needed a nice individual shot or play to try to break this game in their favour. Unfortunately, Raymond, Kessel, JvR and Clarkson just haven’t been able to make something happen since the injuries really struck. I guess skilled wingers need centers not named Smithson, McClement and Smith to help them produce… who knew.

7 – In a decent push with the goalie pulled, the Leafs would have tied this game if not for some heroics from Christian Ehrhoff in the final seconds. In a mad scramble around the net, the puck sprung out to JvR with the net wide open. Unfortunately, the play was slow enough to develop that Ehrhoff could see it coming and get across and block off the empty net. Ehrhoff followed up his game-saving shot block by icing the puck into the empty net.

8 – Trevor Smith acquitted himself fairly well in his increased minutes (17 mins) in a more offensive role, actually looking like he could offer something in an offensive capacity as compared to the other Leaf centers. Speaking of which, there is no harm in bumping Smith up onto the top line and moving JvR back to the wing. Things couldn’t get a whole lot worse. Carlyle gave JvR some time to adjust to center and it simply isn’t working out. You can’t go on scoring one goal a game forever, with the top line generating little of note, before it’s time to move JvR back to his wing position.

9 – This is clearly a team that needs some help from its defence to generate offence with all of its centers with offensive ability out of the lineup. Carlyle should have had Rielly in the lineup. What exactly did McLaren bring as a 12th forward, in his 4 minutes and 50 seconds of ice time, to help this team out tonight? Rielly was instrumental in the Leafs one goal on Wednesday, so why he wasn’t in tonight is inexplicable to me for a team struggling for offense up front. With the forward depth obliterated, 11 forwards and 7 defence in order to play Rielly makes way more sense.

10 – Well, at least they scored an even strength goal. The one thing the Leafs couldn’t afford to do was lose the special teams battle, which they did. All we can hope for is for the Leafs to scrape a few points out of these next two games. It might require a shutout from one of the goalies.

Leafs / Sabres Shot Location Data
Leafs / Sabres Shot Location Data

Leafs at Sabres - November 15

Sabres 3 vs. Leafs 1.
NO.PLAYERPOSGAP+/-PIMSHITSBKSGVATKAFO%PPTOISHTOITOI
2M. FraserD000-1203000-0:00:001:13:0016:02:00
3D. PhaneufD0000040110-4:00:003:39:0022:26:00
4C. FransonD000-1002000-4:00:001:52:0023:26:00
11J. McClementC000-101000050%0:00:003:35:0016:34:00
12M. RaymondL0111010000-2:00:001:01:0018:41:00
15P. RangerD000-1220000-0:00:001:18:0018:21:00
19J. LupulR000-105100050%4:00:000:00:0019:40:00
21J. van RiemsdykL000-105000133%3:43:001:22:0021:52:00
22J. SmithsonC000-100200048%0:17:002:04:0012:55:00
23T. SmithC101102300033%2:00:000:00:0016:50:00
28C. OrrR0000002100-0:00:000:00:005:42:00
36C. GunnarssonD0001012100-2:00:003:20:0018:07:00
37C. AshtonR0000021000100%0:00:000:25:005:10:00
38F. McLarenL0000000000-0:00:000:00:004:56:00
41N. KuleminL000-1001000-0:00:002:55:0013:48:00
51J. GardinerD0000030001-2:00:000:00:0021:44:00
71D. ClarksonR0110032000-2:00:000:00:0017:42:00
81P. KesselC000-1240100-4:00:000:00:0021:12:00
Goalie
NO.PLAYEREVPPSHSavesSV%PIMTOI
45J. Bernier (L) 7-5-116 - 178 - 90 - 024 - 260.923059:11:00

SCORING SUMMARY   
1ST PERIOD
NONE
2ND PERIOD
6:25:00TORTrevor Smith (2) Slapshot - ASST: David Clarkson (2), Mason Raymond (7)1 - 0 TOR
9:45:00BUF PPG - Steve Ott (3) Snap shot - ASST: Tyler Myers (4), Mark Pysyk (3)1 - 1 Tie
15:22:00BUFMarcus Foligno (3) Backhand shot - ASST: Steve Ott (4), Drew Stafford (5)2 - 1 BUF
3RD PERIOD
19:32:00BUFEN - Christian Ehrhoff (1) Wrist shot - ASST: Mark Pysyk (4)3 - 1 BUF

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Goaltending
85 %
Special Teams
20 %
Even Strength
65 %
SHARE
Previous articleCarlyle: TOR/BUF Post Game
Next articlePreview and GDT: Holland's Landing - Sabres at Maple Leafs (7 p.m., CBC)
Alec Brownscombe is the founder of MapleLeafsHotStove.com, where he has written daily about the Leafs since September of 2008. He was also the editor of the 2009-12 Maple Leafs Annuals. You can contact him at [email protected]
  • loomx

    https://twitter.com/mirtle/status/401549136610086912

  • loomx

    Well, I guess we’re losing tomorrow too.

  • Wharf Rat

    Dress Rielly for Saturday night.

  • wiski

    loomx Just try smith ffs

  • Loric76

    wiski loomx and then who plays 2nd C?

  • wendelsfist

    loomx Let’s put Mirtle at center.  He understands Corsi so much – let’s see how he does there.

  • loomx

    wiski loomx Carlyle doesn’t realize that it’s not about the C, it’s about getting JVR back to the wing so that he and Kessel can be a dynamic duo again. They’re great on the wings no matter who is at centre. It won’t matter who’s there as long as they have experience playing the position.

  • Loric76

    with how Smith played tonight, if he keeps it up maybe we see Kadri – Smith- McClement – Smithson down the middle once Kadri’s back…the JVR @ center experiment may be over after the next two games

  • rustynail

    Loric76 it should be over now

  • Burtonboy

    https://twitter.com/jonasTSN1050https://twitter.com/jonasTSN1050/status/401549760227971072
    Asked if recent struggles offensively were related to his moving to centre, JVR replied, “That’s not for me to decide.”

  • Alec Brownscombe

    Burtonboy In other words, yes.

  • loomx

    Burtonboy “That’s not for me to decide”…..aka. yes

  • rustynail

    Burtonboy we know the answer he and Phil have no idea where the hell they are going right now

  • wiski

    Burtonboy Sure it is Jake got moved just say your not comfy 😉

  • Loric76

    rustynail Loric76 agreed but no alternative options right now.  For whatever reason he doesn’t like Raymond in the middle, so somethign has to give

  • rustynail

    Loric76 wiski loomx Jay

  • rustynail

    Loric76 rustynail Smith, Smithson and Jay

  • Burtonboy

    I remember Siegel saying when this move was 1st made he talked with JVR and he  seemed to be hesitant about it

  • MaxwellHowe

    Just to repeat my last comment, the last comment, from the last blog:
    I don’t think its time to panic, but I do think it may be a good time to go to Garth Snow and offer Reimer and Liles for Strome and Nabakov.  Bernier is the real thing. Reimer’s numbers can’t get much better.  If we wait, the Isles will get Hillier or another Ducks goalie. Isles have a glut at centre (imagine) and may go for it

  • Loric76

    rustynail Loric76 what about the 4th line?  Can’t keep double shifting the same players game after game, especially in back to backs

  • rustynail

    Burtonboy hes a power forward and he and Phil are dynamite that way put them back

  • Burtonboy

    Loric76 rustynail Jesue they do that every game . 4th line never plays over 5 minutes

  • rustynail

    Loric76 rustynail its only 2 games and they aren’t back to  back

  • wiski

    Loric76 rustynail Just for 2 games

  • Alec Brownscombe

    MaxwellHowe “I don’t think it’s time to panic, but it’s time to panic”
    lol

  • Loric76

    rustynail Loric76 tonight and tomorrow…?

  • rustynail

    Loric76 rustynail tonight is over

  • Burtonboy

    rustynail Burtonboy I hope he doesn’t have it so totally thrown out of kilter that it will take a couple of weeks to get it back again

  • Loric76

    rustynail Loric76 and before tonight Smith wasn’t considered an option

  • rustynail

    Burtonboy rustynail its only been a few games

  • Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

    haha!!  Milbury & the shoe incident.

  • rustynail

    Loric76 rustynail he was to me

  • wiski

    https://twitter.com/mirtlehttps://twitter.com/mirtle/status/401551365295439872
    Carlyle on JVR at centre: “What else do you want me to do? Am I going to put a defenceman at forward? Is that what you suggest I do?”

  • MaxwellHowe

    Alec Brownscombe MaxwellHowe Well, I don’t think that trade is just a good idea because of current circumstances – Strome is a very good shot to be a #1 centre.  The need for centre depth exists.  The immediacy relates to the fact that the Isles will deal with the Ducks if we wait, and Reimer’s numbers may not be sustainable

  • Loric76

    rustynail Loric76 well then maybe you should go coach then

  • rustynail

    wiski he has 3 centers use them

  • Burtonboy

    rustynail Burtonboy Hopefully Bozak is back on Thursday

  • rustynail

    Loric76 rustynail  nope just figured getting JVR and Phill going is most important no matter who their center is

  • Burtonboy

    https://twitter.com/markhmastershttps://twitter.com/markhmasters/status/401551810600505344
    Clarkson on goal drought: “I’m not thinking about it or worrying about it. I hear it more from you guys than anything.”

  • Loric76

    Burtonboy of course he’s not worried about it, he’s already got his money

  • Burtonboy

    https://twitter.com/markhmastershttps://twitter.com/markhmasters/status/401552076796198912
    Clarkson on his line: “We’ve had chances lately. It’s coming. You get used to people. It’s all part of a new adjustment.”

  • rustynail

    MaxwellHowe Alec Brownscombe and Bernier’s might not

  • loomx

    wiski Playing McKegg there would be an improvement at this point. All you need is a center who knows how to play center and JVR and Kessel do the rest.

  • rustynail

    Loric76 Burtonboy hes streaky and not a huge goal scorer

  • Burtonboy

    Loric76 Burtonboy I don’t think Clarkson is like that for one minute Loric

  • Loric76

    rustynail MaxwellHowe Alec Brownscombe Agreed.  Quick with Bernier was better than Quick without Bernier.  Reimer with Bernier is better than Reimer without Bernier was.  Coincidence?  Maybe, but I doubt it.

  • loomx

    Loric76 Burtonboy Lupul’s got 2 points in his last 8 games and he’s expected to get over 60 points. yell at him

  • Burtonboy

    https://twitter.com/markhmastershttps://twitter.com/markhmasters/status/401553357606617088
    Bernier on lack of Leafs O lately: “You’re going to go thru those situations in the year where you got to stand on your head”

  • Loric76

    Burtonboy Loric76 sorry, didn’t mean to suggest he was.  Just agreeing that the media cares more than he does about it.  He’s not playing to be able to feed his kids or anything is all I meant.

  • MaxwellHowe

    rustynail MaxwellHowe Alec Brownscombe both probably have unsustainable numbers.  I can’t help but notice that Bernier seems to be a more technically sound goalie.  The point about Reimer’s numbers relates to the fact he now has high trade value.  Look, if the Leafs want a top line star centre, its not coming for free.