I believe the saying is..."you have to be good to be lucky and lucky to be good". The Buffalo Sabres were lucky to come away with a 5-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday night. The story of the game was goaltending. Ryan Miller was once again outstanding with 40 saves in the victory and Vesa Toskala had an embarrassing night to earn the loss.
The Leafs were dominant in the first period and thoroughly outplayed Buffalo in every aspect of the game. It took the Sabres almost 13 minutes to get their first shot on goal and they were outshot 10-4 by the visiting Leafs. The only goal of the period came just over three minutes into the game as Viktor Stalberg scored the first goal of his NHL career on a shot that appeared to deflect off of Craig Rivet.
The second period was when the wheels came off for Vesa Toskala and the Toronto Male Leafs. Derek Roy tied the game early in the period on a goal that Toskala argued with the referee. I didn't see interference on the play but it's possible MSG left that replay off the broadcast.
It was the go ahead goal was the one that changed the complexion of the game. Toni Lydman flipped the puck that was headed into the corner but Toskala came out to try to catch it, the puck deflected off of his glove and fell into the net. The game turned at that point and the Sabres added two more before the second period ended.
The Sabres played better in the third period but it didn't make up for the poor play during the first two periods. Lindy Ruff talked about the players that were sick lacking energy but enough is enough. At what point do these guys start feeling better? They need to be a lot better against the Penguins or the score will be reversed on Saturday night.
- The defensive miscues in the first two periods were evident. The defense pinched at the wrong time, they were often out of position and chasing the puck. They were lucky the score didn't get out of hand before Toskala handed them the game.
- Thomas Vanek was one of the players that seemed to lack energy. He did score his 10th goal of the season on a wrap around in the third period.
- Ryan Miller was magnificent once again, making 40 saves with most of the good chances coming in the first period.
- Tim Kennedy was one guy that stood out in a positive way. Kennedy was fast and very strong with the puck. He made a great play on the Sabres third goal that deflected off the leg of Mike Grier.
- There were a total of three penalties in the game and all of them occurred in the first period. The power play continues to struggle going 0-for-2 tonight. The penalty kill was a perfect 1-for-1.
|TOI = Total Time on Ice||GV = Giveaways|
|FO% = Faceoff percentage||TK = Takeaways|
|Hits = Total Hits||BS=Blocked Shots|
|Even Strength Individual Stats||Even Strength On-Ice Totals|
|#||Player||Pos||EV TOI||G||A||Shots||S A/B||S Miss||SOGF||SOGA||SOG Diff||Tot SF||Tot SA||Corsi|
|EV TOI = Even Strength time on ice||SOGA = Team shots against while on ice|
|EV TOI = Even Strength time on ice||SOG Diff = Difference shots on ice|
|S A/B = shots attempted and blocked||Tot SF = Total shots including blocked/missed|
|S Miss = Shots missed the net||Tot SA = Total Shots Ag. Including blocked/missed|
|SOGF = Team Shots while on ice||Corsi = Difference in Total Shots|