The Buffalo Sabres brought an end to the Maple Leafs home game winning streak last night after Jack Eichel scored halfway through the third period to give the Sabres a 3-2 victory over Toronto.
The Maple Leafs were hoping to see their 13 home game winning streak extended to 14 last night. The Leafs were sitting 39 points above the Sabres in the standings going into Monday night’s game. However, the Sabres pulled off a third-period goal to end a tied game and give them the victory and bringing an end to the 14 game hopes.
The Leafs have been having one of their best seasons in recent memory racking up 46 wins. Kadri scored his 30th goal of the season and the irony of last night’s loss is Toronto played better last night than the game they beat Detroit.
Commenting on the loss, Leafs coach, Mike Babcock said,
“We had lots of good things, but then we got carried away with it and gave up some chances. The bottom line is we did lots of good things, we didn’t win the game.”
Buffalo’s Casey Nelson also scored for the Sabres, and goaltender Chad Johnson pulled off 39 saves for the night giving the Sabres a surprise win.
Toronto’s Patrick Marleau and Nazem Kadri both scored one each and Andersen had 24 saves. The Leafs seem ready for the playoffs this year and have a young group of fans hoping this might be the year to see the Cup come back to Toronto.
Buffalo, on the other hand, are in last place and have few hopes of going into the playoffs. The only silver lining for the Sabres is the draft lottery and opportunity in June to choose Swedish defenceman, Rasmus Dahlin. However, Buffalo clearly was in the zone last night at the A.C.C and giving fans the thought that maybe there is some hope for the beleaguered franchise.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Patrick Marleau’s goal gave Toronto a brief lead last night before Buffalo came back and tied the game.
Commenting on Buffalo, Kadri said,
“They were pretty persistent,” Kadri said. “To be honest with you, we played a pretty all-around game and had a lot of offensive opportunities. Their goaltender was good tonight. They’re a resilient group. They stuck with it and were able to find one late.”
Jack Eichel’s goal at 9:36 in the third saw Eichel barreling down the left side of the ice to fire off a backhand past Andersen’s legs. It was his twenty-fourth goal of the season and was the tiebreaker of the night.
Eichel’s goals last night were the first for the player since early February. Eichel had been on the injured list for 15 games after suffering a sprain to his ankle
Sabres coach, Phil Housley commenting saying,
“Jack’s game all night was terrific. From start to finish, he really brought it.”
The Leafs seemed to have turned the game around in the second period with a 2-1 lead only to see Buffalo tie it up thanks to a goal from Casey Nelson, who took a shot on net that bounced off Roman Polak, who was standing in front of Andersen, and into the net. Toronto challenged the goal based on goalie interference. However, it was deemed there was no interference, and the goal stood.
The Maple Leafs are next scheduled to play the Florida Panthers on Wednesday and will head off to New York to play the Islanders on Friday with a then will return home to face the Winnipeg Jets. Buffalo will welcome Detroit on Thursday and then visit Nashville.