Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Leafs in town as it's Toronto/Buffalo Round-2

Published by, 9-23-2017

Last night's game didn't go so well for the Buffalo Sabres. They were shut out by the Maple Leafs 3-0 and took nine penalties, many of the being the kind teams take when they're chasing the puck. It was the Leafs first win of the preseason and new Sabres head coach felt his team wasn't quite ready for them. "You're looking at a team, and I know it's early in preseason, but they lost two games, scored four goals and they gave up 11 against," he said to the gathered media post game. "You know they were going to come out with some hair on their back, and we weren't ready for that."

That said, it's still preseason, teams are adapting to new rule changes and the Sabres did ice a bevy of role players against a Toronto team that played a few of their stars like Auston Matthews, Patrick Marleau and William Nylander. If we can take anything from the game, the team killed off eight of those nine penalties and Buffalo goalie Linus Ullmark stopped 32 of 33 shots, including a couple with his head.

Housley did come up with a positive spin on last night's game. "I think [the performance] does put a damper on it, but we had a good evaluation tonight," he said. "That was a pretty strong lineup. They're strong down the middle, they had a lot of their top scorers out there and some of their D, so it was a good evaluation in that respect.

"Our guys are going to have to learn that it's only going to get harder from here on in."

Tonight at KeyBank Center, Buffalo will be icing a few of their own stars in Jack Eichel, Evander Kane, Kyle Okposo, Sam Reinhart and Rasmus Ristolainen. Plus it looks as if starting goalie Robin Lehner will get the nod.

Here's the lines from the morning skate from Jourdon LaBarber of

26 Matt Moulson - 15 Jack Eichel - 21 Kyle Okposo
9 Evander Kane - 23 Sam Reinhart - 29 Jason Pominville
49 C.J. Smith - 22-Johan Larsson- 24 Hudson Fasching
44 Nicolas Deslauriers - 51 Kyle Criscuolo - 95 Justin Bailey

82 Nathan Beaulieu - 55 Rasmus Ristolainen
45 Brendan Guhle - 5 Matt Tennyson
4 Josh Gorges - 93 Victor Antipin

40 Robin Lehner
31 Chad Johnson
34 Jonas Johansson

Some notes:

Matt Moulson, who's looking to revive a sputtering career gets a shot to make an impression as he's on the top line with Jack Eichel while Eichel also gets a new winger in Okposo.

The second line is intriguing as Reinhart gets the speed of Kane on his left side with the veteran savvy and finish of Jason Pominville on his right. C.J. Smith, Hudson Fasching and Justin Bailey, all of whom played partial seasons in Buffalo for various reasons will also be looking to make an impression as there are one or two wing spots available including a coveted one in the top-six.

On defense, can Brendan Guhle come up with a consistent effort and will Josh Gorges show enough in Housley's new system to garner consideration for the top-six on defense.

Puck drop is at 7:00 p.m.

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