Well it only took six tries but the Leafs finally beat the Buffalo Sabres. Luke Schenn scored his 5th goal of the year midway through the 3rd to give Toronto their 3rd lead of the night and Freddie Sjostrom scored an empty netter in the closing minutes to ice the Leafs’ first win over the Sabres in nearly 16 months. Ryan Miller’s 10 game win streak over the Leafs came to an end, although it wasn’t for lack of effort. The frontrunner for the Vezina trophy stopped 30 shots on the night, and probably would have stopped Schenn’s knuckler from the point, had he been able to see it.
The Leafs got yet another great effort from the same young guys that have been so successful since the Olympic break. Viktor Stalberg scored his 3rd goal in the last two games, off a great pass from Bozak. Not a usual contributor, Garnet Exelby scored his first goal in 154 games, catching Ryan Miller sprawling in the crease with his shot from the sideboards. Brayden Irwin made his NHL debut, and played alright for a kid fresh out of the NCAA. He didnt’ get a point, but did get on the stat sheet with a boarding penalty on what was a pretty weak call. He recorded a shot, a blocked shot, a hit and 2 takeaways in just over 10 minutes of ice time, and may get another chance to show what he’s got tomorrow night.
Just to put a little perspective on this for you: since the league resumed play, Toronto has recorded 22 points in 17 games. The only team to have more points since the break is Nashville, while the league-best Washington Capitals have 22 points, although they have 4 overtime losses adding to their totals.
Sorry about the lateness of the post, but my space bar is apparently on the fritz, and requires me to hammer down on it after every word to work effectively. The Leafs host the Bruins tomorrow night and will have a great chance to play spoiler. In fact, all of their remaining 4 games are good opportunities for the Leafs to break some hearts around the league, as Boston, Montreal, Philly and New York are all right on the playoff bubble.
1. Luke Schenn – 1 goal, +1, 1 blocked shot, 3 hits
2. Garnet Exelby – 1 goal, +1, 1 blocked shot, 2 shots
3. Steve Montador – 1 goal, 3 shots