On a night where the Leafs were looking to separate themselves 9 points ahead of the Buffalo Sabres at home, the visitors wouldn’t go down lightly.
Stepping on the gas pedal early and coasting into a victory, the Sabres came out by a 3-1 score on Saturday night at the ACC.
The Leafs kind of forgot to show up to this one on time.
Before Toronto even had two shot attempts, Buffalo found themselves up 2-0. 4:13 & 5:08 into the first period, Evander Kane & Sam Reinhart had given the Buffaloers the lead. Toronto then fought back for 9 of the next 10 shot attempts in the game and looked to be pressing.
But things weren’t meant to be.
Kane found the net at 18:02, stretching the lead to 3.
Toronto didn’t exactly suffer from their shortage of chances in the first period, but none of their 13 shots could get past Robin Lehner. It wasn’t over, but it wasn’t exactly going to be easy from there on out.
Mitch Marner found the net 15:57 through the second period to start the comeback…
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) February 12, 2017
… but that’s as far as it would get. It was a bold effort by pulling the goalie with just under 4 minutes to go as the Leafs fired a barrage of shots towards Robin Lehner, but his 43 saves ended up being the difference. Some nights you outshoot the opponent and run into a hot goalie. Tonight was one of those nights. After a shaky opening frame, Frederik Andersen looked very comfortable through the final 40 minutes.
83-42 on the shot attempt counter. 37-7 in the third period. Sometimes the hockey gods are cruel.
Mitch Marner scored the only Leafs goal on a strong individual effort, so he gets the nod in this one.
The Leafs get back in action Tuesday night against the New York Islanders.