Sep 21, 2013; Buffalo, NY, USA; Buffalo Sabres center Cody McCormick (8) and Toronto Maple Leafs left wing David Broll (46) fight during the first period at First Niagara Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Knee Jerk Reactions: Toronto Maple Leafs

I don’t know if you can chalk that one up for a loss tonight- hands down the best preseason game I’ve seen in a while. I don’t know if i’m more concerned that the Sabres couldn’t score a shootout goal through 15 rounds or amused by that epic shootout. It may only be preseason but man the young Buffalo Sabres are looking awfully good through the first 4 preseason games. Sure 3-0-1 through the preseason means nothing in the long run, but the confidence the team will build up through the preseason can’t hurt once the season begins. The

Sabres were flying hard tonight, even ones that aren’t expected to be so offencively minded. The Sabres chose to dress a “tougher” squad tonight against the Leafs, but it didn’t seem to matter.

If the Buffalo Sabres can put up a similar effort through the regular season then they’re going to surprise a LOT of people… maybe Sabres’ fans wont have to suffer as much as they thought. If the young ones stick, it’s going to be an exciting season to say the least. Despite giving the lead up late in the third, the Buffalo Sabres can’t be faulted for their effort for the majority of the game- where they can be faulted is special teams.

At lot of players are showing they’re hungry to crack the squad, there’s going to be some pretty tough decisions made after this weekend. Did anyone else feel their angst towards the Toronto Maple Leafs grow a little more tonight? These teams have a solid rivalry and tonight’s 15 round shootout won’t help that, but at least both coaches were shown chuckling.

Game Notes-

  • An Interesting preseason stat- the Sabres now lead the league in goals scored by rookies through the preseason with 8 after the first goal by Mark Pysyk.
  • Speaking of Pysyk, is there another player that has shown throughout preseason that they belong on the Sabres more than him? Ristolainen and Girgensons have both put up solid cases, but it will be near impossible for them to send down Pysyk. He plays with so much poise and confidence, letting no mistake get to him. His beautiful end to end rush on butter toast was exciting to watch, Through the first 4 games Pysyk has proved he deserves a shot on the blueline.
  • Wow, what an interesting game by Jhonas Enroth. I’m still not 100% sold on Enroth’s game or his ability to be a full-time starter. At times tonight he looked solid, but the two goals through the five-hole made me cringe. Not to mention the weak shootout winner through the wickets. Yes he was very impressive through 14 rounds in the shootout, but you can’t let a player like Jay McClement score. His five-hole and massive rebounds was a little worrisome tonight, hopefully he can reign in those rebounds and close his legs. Enroth better be thanking the posts after tonight’s effort, as they bailed him out at least 4 times.

    Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

  • If there’s one thing that seems to have carried over from last season, it’s the Sabres horrible special teams. Tonight they went 0-5 on power-play, had they scored even 1 power-play goal they could have put this game out of reach. Sabres have young, creative players, there’s not much excuse for the poor power-play. It’s time for them to learn how to make another team play, because right now no team is worried about being a man down against the Sabres. On the other side I have to give a stick tap to Patrick Kaleta who I harped on a bit last week for him costing the Sabres. Tonight Kaleta played smart hockey and drew 3 penalties, sadly his teammates couldn’t capitalize but at least he used his powers for good tonight. Not to mention he even dropped the mitts.
  • I think it was a big mistake for Darcy Regier to announce that Mikhail Grigorenko would be playing the full year with the Sabres because he’s shown up to training camp without any effort. It’s time to check that ego or laziness at the door, there’s no room for that on the look Sabres. Grigorenko is lazy on the back-check and plays very weak defence. He’s lucky he’s been guaranteed a spot or else it might go to Girgensons.
  • Speaking of Girgensons, it appears he earned himself a spot in Ron Rolston’s dog house tonight as he wasn’t chosen to participate in the 15 round shootout. A player with Girgensons skill, should have been one of the first shooters Rolston went to, instead he opted for players like Brian Flynn and Christian Ehrhoff. Why was Girgensons in the dog house? For a penalty he took in OT, which really hurt the Sabres as they had to play 4 on 3 in the OT.
  • Rolston united the Foligno-Ennis and Stafford line for tonight’s affair and they looked fantastic. They were flying all over the ice, Foligno and Ennis hooked up for the 2nd Sabres goal and they generated all kinds of chances. Maybe that line deserves a second chance?

The Sabres will play the second half of their home and home against the Leafs tomorrow night in Toronto and I’m happy to announce I’ll be in attendance. Can the Sabres even up the series with the Leafs tomorrow night?

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