In this edition of ‘How They Fared,’ we take a look at how the Buffalo Sabres looked against their rivals, the Toronto Maple Leafs.
You don’t need me to tell you how much the Buffalo Sabres and Toronto Maple Leafs don’t like each other. Ever since the Sabres came into the league, Toronto has always been their biggest rival. Believe it or not, these two teams have faced off in the postseason just once.
That matchup was during the 1999 Eastern Conference Finals in which Buffalo eliminated the Maple Leafs in five games to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals. The Sabres are 121-76-18-10 against Toronto all time and whenever they get together regardless of the season record, it’s always fun.
So how did Buffalo fare against the Maple Leafs last season? The first of three meetings took place in the middle of November in Toronto. The first period was one to forget for the Sabres as the Maple Leafs had a 3-0 lead after the first 20 minutes of play.
Halfway through the second period, Alex Tuch got Buffalo on the board but William Nylander scored later on to make it 4-1 Leafs heading into the third. Nylander scored again before Casey Mittelstadt scored but it would not matter and the Sabres lost 5-2.
Buffalo Sabres struggled against the Leafs in 2022-23
February had Buffalo hosting the second matchup and it was another game to forget for Buffalo. The Sabres didn’t score their first goal of the contest until the 15 minute mark of the third period and were losing 5-0 after 40 minutes.
Despite a late push, Buffalo lost 6-3 as former Sabre Ryan O’Reilly got a hat trick with his new team after getting traded from St. Louis. The first period was very rough for the Sabres as the Leafs scored three goals in the first 10 minutes of the period and it was 4-0 heading into the first intermission.
One month later, Buffalo and Toronto met up for the third and final time in Toronto. After a scoreless first period, the Sabres saw themselves trailing 2-0 early on in the second until Jack Quinn cut Toronto’s lead in half with a few minutes to go.
Tuch tied the game early on in third period and Dylan Cozens gave Buffalo a 3-2 lead. Shortly after Cozens scored, Tuch scored again on the power play to make it 4-2. Even though Nylander scored with about one minute remaining, the Sabres went on to win the game 4-3.
Luckily for us, these teams will see each other four times this season. We know Toronto will be good and I expect the Sabres to be good as well, so it will be fun to see what transpires in the games they face off.
(Statistics provided by Hockey-Reference)