Sabres 3 â€“ Leafs 2.Â A great performance by the Sabres left us Leafs fans wanting in what was a second consecutive defeat at the hands of Buffalo. The Sabres outshot the Leafs 37-21 and dominated play for the most part. Not that the boarder games are ever easy (our record there shows that) but Sabres once again iced a pretty competitive lineup and took full advantage.
As always in preseason, there were some positives to take out of the game, not many, but a few. First let me start with a great bit of news. Matthew Lombardi has been cleared for full contact practice and may get an exhibition game in. I for one can’t wait to see him in action.
Jonas Gustavsson was bombarded by shots, and although he did look caught out of position on the two goals why does it always feel like the team in front of him never seems to do a good job? He still made 34 saves and kept the team in it for the most part.
Matt Frattin and Mikhail Grabovski put in the best performance. The kid looking to make the team showed off his NHL ready shot, which put goalie Jonas Enroth in all sorts of problems spitting out rebounds from which our Belarusian dynamo benefited most. Grabo showed excellent speed on the first goal, as well as some soccer skills. Overall he wanted it more than anyone out there and thatâ€™s always a positive sign.
I was somewhat impressed early on with the PK acumen of Philippe Dupuis. Phil Kessel got some time on the PK and was fairly solid. Once again the speed of Gardiner proved a handful for Buffalo. He got rewarded with a second assist on the second Grabovski goal.
Ah yes, Nazem Kadri. Is it just me or does everything look ok when heâ€™s playing well but the minute the team is struggling, or he is, the kid just seems to revert to his old â€œIâ€™ll do it myself attitudeâ€. Often enough, he was caught overhandling the puck on the opposition bluelineÂ which led to odd man rushes by the Sabres. Progress is evident, but as Brian Burkeâ€™s post game words show, that still might not be enough to keep him with the big club for the start of the season.
Burke on Kadri: “Weâ€™re still seeing too many turnovers high in the attacking zone.”
Sometimes, and thatâ€™s visible with Frattin, less is indeed more. Now the management has to choose. Do they keep a guy with an NHL ready shot, that does the little things right and plays a simple game that benefits his line, or a kid that has potential to be a game changer or a liability?Â Questions will become answers, maybe sooner than we think.