Preview: Game #18 Sabres @ Leafs - The importance of toughness

Cam Charron
February 21 2013 11:54AM

The last time the Toronto Maple Leafs faced off against a Buffalo Sabres' team that didn't employ Lindy Ruff, Toronto got goals from Wendel Clark, Kirk Muller and Larry Murphy in a 6-3 loss to the Dominik Hasek-era Buffalo team. At that point, the Maple Leafs were still in the Western Conference and only played the team twice a year.

The Sabres were a tough team back then—they had to be. Short of Hasek, they had few offensive stars and just a collection of scattered journeymen providing the offence for them. They had no 30-goal scorers, but several 20-goal scorers including international superstars Brian Holzinger, Jason Dawe and team-leading scorer Derek Plante.

They weren't a team that scored a lot of goals. They got world-class goaltending from Hasek in his prime and fought people. The Sabres were third in fighting majors in the 1996-1997 season, led by Rob Ray, Matthew Barnaby and Bob Boughner. All three players fought Leafs that night, or a couple of nights before during the first half of the home-and-home at Maple Leaf Gardens.

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The Toronto Maple Leafs' looming PDO demon (what is PDO?)

Cam Charron
February 20 2013 01:26PM

"PDO", which doesn't stand for anything, can explain how hockey teams performed in a short amount of time.

It is the simple addition of a team's even strength shooting percentage and a team's even strength save percentage. Over the long run, it's been observed that the "PDO number" comes closer to 1.

It is also a very counter-intuitive concept, since it assumes that the value of every shot is equal, that teams have equally-good shooters and goaltenders. That said, teams that start the season with high PDOs tend to finish the season with lower PDOs. As of Monday morning, there were nine teams that had their goaltenders combine for .930 even strength save percentages or higher. After 82 games last season, only two teams managed that.

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LFR6 - Game 17 - Stamkos Struck

Steve Dangle
February 20 2013 12:28PM

 

 The shutout streak is over! The sky is falling!

Seriously though, here's the latest LFR video. 

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Nations Freeroll - Week of February 18th

Kent Wilson
February 20 2013 10:24AM

 

 

We've run a few of these recently and there seemed to be some interest, so Draft Street has set up another Nations Freeroll contest for this week.

Here's a run-down of the rules for those who are unfamiliar:

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Tampa Bay defeats Toronto 4-2 in hockey game

Cam Charron
February 19 2013 09:37PM

It was an uncharacteristically slow pace for a game involving the Tampa Bay Lightning, or perhaps I've been swayed by a bias because their games are usually high-scoring. There wasn't a lot going on for either team, a slow first period and a slow second period ended up having a pretty fun ending thanks to the Toronto Maple Leafs pressing with the empty net, but ultimately the Leafs dropped their first game in three outings with a 4-2 loss to the Bolts.

The difference may have been Ben Scrivens' first two mistakes on the season. Alexander Killorn and Matt Carle both scored on long, unscreened point shots misplayed by Scrivens. Neither him nor Anders Lindback were overwhelming on forward shooters—much of the reason for the low shot total in this game, 25-19, was the result of missed nets and blocks.

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