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Title - Chris Savard
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Maple Leafs get back to .500 against lowly Sabres
By Chris Savard
HometownHockey.ca

Maple Leafs get back to .500 against lowly Sabres
In an effort to try and infuse an offensive spark into his team, Toronto Maple Leafs Head Coach Randy Carlyle shook up his lines tonight. He reunited Joffrey Lupul with Phil Kessel from the Ron Wilson days, and they were centred by Nazem Kadri. Tyler Bozak fell to the second line between James Van Riemsdyk and David Clarkson.
PHOTO CREDIT - Canada.com

Stoney Point - October 28, 2014 - In an effort to try and infuse an offensive spark into his team, Toronto Maple Leafs Head Coach Randy Carlyle shook up his lines tonight. He reunited Joffrey Lupul with Phil Kessel from the Ron Wilson days, and they were centred by Nazem Kadri. Tyler Bozak fell to the second line between James Van Riemsdyk and David Clarkson.

It took them close to 40 minutes to tally their first goal, but from there it was all Leafs in the third period as they beat the Buffalo Sabres 4-0. Jonathan Bernier registered perhaps the easiest shutout of his career.

Bozak, Kessel, Van Riemsdyk and Jake Gardiner scored for Toronto. Morgan Rielly picked up a pair of helpers. The Leafs now sit at .500 with a 4-4-1 record.

Line-Ups -Matt Frattin draws back into the lineup after Stuart Percy was sent down to the AHL Toronto Marlies. Carter Ashton was a healthy scratch for the Leafs tonight. David Booth and Brandon Kozun are both on the IR list.

The Good

  • Shots on goal - Typically, the Leafs are on the wrong side of the shot clock. Tonight was different as the home team outshot the Sabres 37-10. At the end of the second, they were up 29-7 on shots on net.
  • Neuvirth - You don’t win many games when you only get 10 shots on net. Thankfully for the Sabres, Michael Neuvirth put on a clinic tonight at the ACC or the Leafs could have won by a converted touchdown or more.
  • Lupes looks good - Lupul made the most of his move to the top line. While he was held off the scoresheet, he was all over the ice and almost had as many shots as the entire Buffalo team. (Sabres 10, Lupul 9)
  • Gardiner scores - Nice to see #51 bury one. For most of the game he struggled in what has been a disappointing start for him this season. He did throw his best hit of the season tonight – sadly, it was against teammate Clarkson.
  • Santorelli - Another solid game from #25. Registered an assist, lead the team with four hits and was +2. He has been a good addition for Toronto so far this year.
The Bad

  • Mr. Hockey - Sad news tonight about Gordie Howe. The 86 year old Detroit Red Wing great suffered a serious stroke on Sunday night and is struggling to speak or stand. Thoughts and prayers to Mr. Hockey for a speedy return to health.
  • Kadri on the draw - Kadri was a brutal 29% in the faceoff circle tonight.
The Ugly

  • McDavid could help PP - The Sabres went 0 for 2 on the Powerplay tonight, pushing their record on the season to 0 for 32. This is a team starved for offence and Erie Otters forward could help with this issue. The Sabres will certainly be in the mix for the first overall pick.
  • Phaneuf knee buckle - Scary moment for Dion Phaneuf near the end of the second period when Kadri fell into him. Phaneuf’s knee buckled in an awkward way and it was hard not to imagine the Leafs captain being out for a period of time. Phaneuf returned for the third and held his own in a tussle with Cody McCormick.
  • Reinhart needs to go back to WHL - Sabres rookie Sam Reinhart, played in his eighth NHL game tonight. The Sabres can play the second overall pick before having to decide on whether to return him to the Kootenay Ice of the WHL. If he plays game ten, the first year of his contract kicks in.
Game Notes -

  • You don’t see that everyday - Two breakaways on the same play. First Peter Holland appeared in the clear until he got hooked, then Van Riemsdyk broke in all alone only to hit the post.
  • Team Record - The Toronto Maple Leafs tied a franchise record for the fewest shots allowed in a game.
  • Line Changes - Carlyle changed up the lines on the Powerplay tonight. Instead of rolling his number one or number two lines, he went back to the lines from last game. JVR, Bozak and Kessel were reunited and the second unit was Clarkson, Kadri and Lupul.
  • 3 and 0 - My HometownHockey.ca colleagues Tim Cornett, Rob McLeod and I rotate assignments with respect to covering the Maple Leafs games. With this win tonight, yours truly moves to a perfect 3-0 on the games I have covered!

Next Game - The Maple Leafs have a date on Halloween night in Columbus with the Blue Jackets. They return home on Saturday night to host the Chicago Blackhawks.

Follow Us on TwitterIn his lifetime, Chris Savard has spent time as both an elected official and a hot air balloon pilot. As such, FULL OF HOT AIR seemed to be an appropriate name for this column. Savard will provide his thoughts on a number of topics including hockey on this site, as well as politics and local issues on OurHometown.ca. His opinion combined with $1.60 will buy you a medium coffee at Tim's! You can email him at csavard@ourhometown.ca



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