Monday, December 15, 2008

Big Division Victory for the Leafs

Friday night's game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Buffalo Sabres didn't play out how I'd imagined it to. This low scoring affair featured only three combined goals, each scored by players with a combined 8 goals in 50 games this season. Toni Lydman, Jeremy Williams and Ian White scored for each of their respective teams on Friday.

I'm not sure if I believe the game was as low scoring as it was because of the great goaltending, although both Ryan Miller and Vesa Toskala played well, or if it was the ineptitude of the forwards. Drew Stafford’s shocking missed opportunity, he had a wide opened net and somehow managed to miss the net completely, was the one blunder that stood out the most for me. Maxim Afinogonov's lack of finish, which he has exhibited almost all season (with the exception of the lone goal he has scored), made another appearance when Toskala made a pad save on an opportunity that should have resulted in a goal nine times out of ten.

Buffalo's lack of finish shouldn't imply that the Leafs gave up opportunity after opportunity because they didn't. They Leafs played a decent game, scored when they had to and Toskala made the saves he needed to for the Leafs to beat their division foes, the Sabres.

What may have been the most impressive part of the Leafs game was their ability to keep the high scoring Thomas Vanek off the score sheet. Vanek currently leads the league with 24 goals on the season.

With a game with little to report on and the Leafs being off until Tuesday night we'll leave it at that for this time around. The Leafs host the New Jersey Devils, who had been on a hot streak until their recent loss (Saturday to the same Buffalo Sabres), at the Air Canada Centre. This should be another interesting match-up.

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