Game Day Notes: Game #49, Sabres @ Leafs

Game Day Notes: Game #49, Sabres @ Leafs

The Leafs look to hold onto their reclaimed playoff spot by turning a pair of wins into a winning streak against the League’s worst team, but must do so in a back-to-back situation while a chunk of their roster battles the flu bug.

– The Maple Leafs are 4-5-0 in the second game of a back to back. The Sabres also played last night, losing 4-3 to the Flyers.

– The Leafs returned to a playoff spot with their second straight win last night, but the hold is tenuous: They’re at 51 points through 48 games while the Wings have 50 in 46 and the Sens 50 in 47.

– The Sabres are averaging a hilarious 1.64 goals per game. The last team to finish below 2 per game on average was the Lightning in 1997-98 with a 1.84 GF/G. This is historically bad stuff and it’s looking like the Sabres will go down in the record books as we’re now at the 45-game mark in their season and they’ve actually trended downward since the Leafs last met them on December 27 (down from 1.68/game).

– Amazingly, the Sabres are averaging 1.64 goals against per game overall and yet they have 11 in 4 games against the Leafs (2.75/game). The Leafs have taken 5 of 8 points from the Sabres, and same goes of the Sabres from the Leafs. This is the last of five meetings on the season and it will determine who takes the season series. 7/10 points seems like a minimum requirement in five games versus the Sabres, so hopefully the Leafs can make that happen tonight.

– Two regulation-overtime wins in a row (pun intended), could it be? The Leafs haven’t accomplished that feat in nearly two months (November 16-19 vs. the Sabres and Islanders, who have a combined 31-50-8 record).

– Dave Farrish decided to move Jake Gardiner onto powerplay unit 1 in the place of Franson last night because Franson is one of the Leafs feeling the effects of the flu and wasn’t playing at 100%. It added a nice right-side halfwall threat when the opponent double teamed Kessel on the left halfwall, which Phil took advantage of brilliantly with a one-touch rocket-propelled cross-ice pass to Gardiner for Jake’s goal last night. It’s hard to argue with the results when the Leafs have been near the top of the league in powerplay percentage all season, but I’ve also always liked the idea of a puck rusher/mover accompanying a trigger man, which is what the Phaneuf-Gardiner/Rielly-Franson pairs accomplish.

– Tyler Bozak played a whopping 24 minutes last night, and who could argue? Besides the production (2g, 1a), that was a key play by Bozak last night to tie up a stick to the side of the net in the final seconds as the loose puck bounced around the crease.

– Bozak has now put up 79% of last season’s production in half the number of games. Bozie has been johnny on the spot, shooting 28%. Enjoy it while it lasts.

– Only 5 of Bozak’s 22 points have come on the powerplay this season. During his eight game point streak before it was snapped vs. Washington, Bozak had 11 points, 10 of which were at evens. The Leafs are bottom 10 in even strength goals per game, so this is vital stuff Bozak has been providing.

– Peter Holland broke 10 minutes last night in his first game back, which was nice to see. Carlyle has to stay creative in how he manages the minutes so as to ensure Holland’s numbers stay north of 9 or 10 minutes. .

– James Reimer will start for the Leafs in just his third start in three weeks. He is 6-2-2 against the Sabres lifetime with a .903 save percentage.

– Randy Carlyle said after the game that the flu bug has bitten seven Maple Leaf players so far. We’ll have to see if it affects the lineup again tonight. We won’t have much information until right before game time with it being a back to back situation.

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]
729 comments
shawzy9
shawzy9

Actually Dreger is pretty well respected in hockey circles...just saying

djamon
djamon

Dreger just suggested it would require Eberle to get Cam fucking Ward.

Jay31
Jay31

Just came on here to check what people were saying about Dreger's Kadri rumours... Glad to see most of the people who post here are far more rational than that moron

Knights2Leafs
Knights2Leafs

Can someone bring me up to speed?  When Bolland does come back what is our cap situation as it pertains to Gleason?  Is there enough cap room to keep him up?

ShiFty_D
ShiFty_D

Still hate the shoot out regardless of our particular success or failure with it

newkb
newkb

@djamon Wow....no human can possibly be as out of touch with reality...or just plain dumb...as Dreger.

wendelsfist
wendelsfist

@ingy56 Good game for Reimer to gain some confidence and get his game back

djamon
djamon

@Shift_Disturber1 I don't care too much about it, but they WILL have to figure out why some games are worth 3 points and others 2. 

ingy56
ingy56

@Shift_Disturber1 Nothing wrong with a tie game, yet Gary will never go with it because the standings may stretch out a bit. 

Jay31
Jay31

@Dangle_My_Berries @Jay31  "Dreger says on TSN that if the Leafs are going to trade Kadri - and there's a chance - they need a centre coming back."


Pretty retarded

loomx
loomx

@Dangle_My_Berries @loomx @Jay31 btw the "I'm a moron" part is paraphrasing from when he said that Kadri is a 7 year pro as if to say he should be better when this is only his 4th year pro.

djamon
djamon

@Loric76 I think getting Frattin, a 2nd and a 3rd for your backup is pretty damn good.

theacs1966
theacs1966

@Bon Scott was a Leaf fan @Murph2417 @theacs1966 Wish I could.  I can't stand being high on grass.  I like some pharmaceuticals, but not dope.  I can't tolerate it, not even the tablet type.  Everyone I know uses and likes the stuff but I can't tolerate it or I would.  I also don't need the munchies.

loomx
loomx

@Shift_Disturber1 @loomx I'm not a huge fan of that. I think it'd be way too open. I think that if you just extend OT by 5 more minutes, a lot more games wouldn't make it to the shootout. Either that or just eliminate the loser point. Teams would give a bigger push at the end of the 3rd and in OT instead of relying on luck in the shootout.