What a strange and ill-timed game by the Toronto Maple Leafs. Toronto dominated the first period but couldn’t score. Then they dominated the latter part of the third period. Sadly for the home team, in between they had fallen behind by that time and couldn’t catch up.
Was the game as simple as the Maple Leafs not being that pressed in their playoff race and the Sabres fighting hard for a spot? Whatever, the Sabres fought harder than the Maple Leafs. They deserved the win.
The Maple quickly went up 2-0 in the second period and just seemed to fall back into a defensive mode. Either that or they couldn’t figure out how to get down the ice into the Sabres’ end/
The Sabres made it 2-1 at the end of the second, and then they scored three more in the third. As noted, the Maple Leafs started to come back in the third but it was too little and too late.
Takeaway One: Matt Murray Lets in Four Goals for Fifth Straight Game
Without judging the quality of Matt Murray’s game (because it confused me honestly), here are the facts/end results. He started Monday’s game against the Sabres. It was his third start since returning from a 17-game injury reserve stint. In each of these starts he’s allowed four goals. After last night’s game, he’s now allowed 12 goals in 79 shots on his net.
Last night in the game against the Sabres, Murray allowed four goals on 29 shots. His team dominated the first period, and he wasn’t that busy. However, when Buffalo started to pour it on later in the second period, Murray just couldn’t shut the door completely. By the end of the second period, the score was 2-1 Maple Leafs.
Then, the Sabres scored three more goals in the third period and that was the game.
Murray’s record since his return from injury is now 1-2-0, and his save percentage is .848. For the season, Murray has a 12-7-2 record, a .903 save percentage, and a 2.92 goals-against average.
Related: 3 MAPLE LEAFS’ RANDOM THOUGHTS: MARNER, ACCIARI & MURRAY
Item Two: Auston Matthews Is Starting to Collect More Points Each Game
Even in the 4-3 loss, Auston Matthews collected three points. These came on a goal and two assists in the loss to the Sabres. Matthews started strong, breaking a scoreless tie early in the second period by pushing/flipping a rebound past goalie Craig Anderson.
He also added an assist on Calle Jarnkrok’s goal later in the same period. Finally, he registered an assist on William Nylander’s hard-working goal in the third period.
Matthews has now extended his point streak to three games and has 10 points (five goals, five assists) in his last seven games. On the season, Matthews has pushed his total to 31 goals and 36 assists in 59 games played. He’s picking up steam.
Related: Maple Leafs News & Rumors: Murray, Acciari, McCabe & Muzzin
Item Three: Did the Sabres Win this Game or Did the Maple Leafs Lose It?
As I noted to start this post, it was a strange game for the Maple Leafs, and ill-timed. But are the Maple Leafs to blame for the loss or are the Sabres to be credited for the win? In other words, did the Maple Leafs blow this game or did the Sabres wrestle it away from them?
Give the Buffalo Sabres credit for their win against Toronto. At the same time, give the Maple Leafs some blame for a game they should have hung on to win. The Maple Leafs had a 2-0 lead and had shut down the Sabres defensively. However, they allowed the Sabres to gain traction later on in the game.
Part of that has to be attributed to Maple Leafs’ shortcomings. However, the Sabres built momentum and responded with four unanswered goals. Alex Tuch had a particularly strong performance, having just returned from an injury.
In the end, the Sabres needed the points the most and came away with the win. It clearly mattered more to them than it did for the Maple Leafs. It showed in the game and on the score sheet.
Related: Maple Leafs Exorcizing Muzzin’s Ghost with an 11/7 Lineup Move
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March 14, 2023 at 3:04 am
So … hard …to… play…a… full … 60….minutes… on …Mondays. Poor boys had to practice on Sunday as well. Sure glad I wasn’t paying to see that one.
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