Even if the Buffalo Sabres new restrictions on ticket sales don’t keep Toronto fans away, history is still on the Blue and Gold’s side.
With the Buffalo Sabres new restrictions in place this season, we were bound to hear backlash from several Toronto Maple Leafs-based outlets. Some, like David Alter of The Hockey Writers, state the plan “will not work,” and maybe it won’t. Alter even reminded us that the Florida Panthers couldn’t make it work, and they even cited data to back up their claims.
Unfortunately for the Leafs, it didn’t matter how many fans invaded Sunrise, Florida – The Panthers still got the best of them, and it wasn’t even close. Even more unfortunate? Or better yet, fortunate for us Buffalo fans: The Sabres have dominated the Leafs more often than not, regardless of who shows up to the arena.
Per Stat Muse, Buffalo holds a 121-76-18-10 (121-86-10 when you count overall wins for both teams) record against their rivals north of the border heading into the 2023-24 season. And while Toronto blew out Buffalo twice last year, they still have ways to go before they even come close to taking a lead in the all-time series.
My advice to Buffalo fans: Let the Toronto backers talk all they want. Sure, times have been tough for our Sabres recently, but check this out: Even during Buffalo’s darkest stretch in the 2010s, Toronto still couldn’t gain much of an edge. That decade, the Sabres posted a 21-21-5 record against their Atlantic Division rival.
Buffalo Sabres still hold a massive edge in all-time series vs. Toronto
Beyond that, and into the 2020s, Buffalo holds a massive edge. And with the way things are going for the Sabres, coupled with the signs of turbulence the Leafs are starting to show, don’t be surprised if the Blue and Gold extend their series lead sooner than later.
Sure, anything can happen, and it’s definitely true that Maple Leafs fans may invade KeyBank Center once again. But let’s be real: For a fanbase that supposedly travels so well, you’d have thought they’d have made at least one Stanley Cup Final appearance since the Expansion Era started for the 1967-68 season.
No, the Buffalo Sabres haven’t exactly been the epitome of a successful NHL franchise since their inception in 1970. In fact, some may even imply that they’re historically bad, but at least they clawed their way into a couple of Finals over the past 50-plus seasons.
That’s more than the Maple Leafs can say for their organization since the 1966-67 season, the year they last hoisted a Cup. Sure, they may have won 13 of them….back when there were 10 or fewer teams in the league, and most often, six. So if you do the math, Toronto primarily had roughly a 17% chance to win the entire thing between 1917-18 and 1966-67, sans a few outliers.
They had a couple of chances to get back there since then, one of which came against the Buffalo Sabres in 1999. And while Buffalo couldn’t quite finish the year by hoisting the Cup, the next best thing happened: They beat Toronto to get there.
So yeah, let the outlets coming out of Toronto keep talking about this and claiming the Blue and Gold’s plan will never work. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter – Regardless of how well Toronto’s fans travel, it’s rarely benefited their team. If it had, then they’d have at least made an appearance in the Stanley Cup Final.
(Historical data provided by Stat-Muse and Hockey-Reference)