Buffalo Sabres again prove they are the NHL’s most mysterious team in win over Leafs

Only the 2023-24 Buffalo Sabres could have allowed nine goals vs. one of the NHL’s worst teams, only to turn around and score nine vs. one of the best.

Dec 21, 2023; Buffalo, New York, USA;  Buffalo Sabres right wing Kyle Okposo (21) celebrates his
Dec 21, 2023; Buffalo, New York, USA; Buffalo Sabres right wing Kyle Okposo (21) celebrates his / Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
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Heading into tonight’s game vs. the Toronto Maple Leafs, nobody thought the Buffalo Sabres would skate in and enjoy a blowout win, let alone end up scoring nine goals. The Maple Leafs, who are tied with the Florida Panthers for second in the Atlantic, as usual, had plenty of fans make the trip to Buffalo and invade KeyBank Center. But when the final horn sounded, most of those fans were long gone as their team gave them no reason to stick around. 

Yet for a minute there, it looked as though we were about to experience a repeat of Tuesday night, as the Blue and Gold scored early in the game thanks to Jordan Greenway, only to allow two unanswered. Then, Buffalo scored eight of the next nine goals and for the most part, had the game in hand by the end of the second period when they entered the final intermission up 6-3. 

Buffalo Sabres crush the Leafs, again getting the best of the NHL’s best

Buffalo scored an additional three goals in the final frame, ending the contest with a 9-3 victory, but once again, we’re left with more questions than answers. How can the Sabres lose so badly to a team like the Columbus Blue Jackets before turning around and winning in the exact same fashion against a Cup contender like the Maple Leafs? 

We still have no idea who this team is, or perhaps, we just saw what we’ve been waiting for across the first 33 games of the season. Only we couldn’t get it because of injuries, and that is a top-six featuring a line with Tage Thompson, Jeff Skinner, and Alex Tuch, and behind them, the famous “Kid Line.” It was the first time we got to see that exact lineup this season, and they more than picked up where they left off. 

The next few games will give us more insight of whether the familiar top-six is the antidote to this team’s woes all along. As of tonight, the group showed everyone they are ahead of the curve, so we will see if that trend continues when the Buffalo Sabres visit Madison Square Garden against the New York Rangers. 

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(Statistics provided by NHL.com)