Sabres scorers: Ennis (6), Stafford (8), Girgensons 2 (6), Moulson (2), Myers (1)
Leafs scorers: Clarkson (5), Kessel (11)
The Leafs were set to face off against the Buffalo Sabres in the second half of back-to-back games on Saturday evening. After narrowly losing to the Pittsburgh Penguins the night before, the Leafs were hoping to easily secure two points against the last place Sabres.
With plenty of Leaf fans making the trip across the border, the crowd in attendance at First Niagara Center made for a lively atmosphere. It seemed as though both teams struggled offensively throughout much of the first but as the final minutes of the period wound down, the Sabres took advantage of the Leafs lack of effort and were up 1-0 on a power-play goal from Tyler Ennis. The game was quickly slipping away from the Leafs when Zemgus Girgensons scored a short-handed goal three minutes later.
The second period wasn’t much kinder to the Leafs and it took just 7 minutes for the Drew Stafford to get the Sabres up 3-0. As the period was about to expire, the Leafs were finally on the board with a goal from David Clarkson. But the excitement from Leaf fans was short-lived when Matt Moulson added to the Sabres lead just 15 seconds later. This seemed to spark a sudden goal explosion and a goal from Phil Kessel got the Leafs within 2 less than 30 seconds later.
Although the game was still in reach for the Leafs heading into the third with the Sabres up 4-2, it was all but over in the first minute of the final period when Tyler Myers put the game all but out of reach. The lead grew again less than four minutes later with Girgensons’ second goal of the evening and the Leafs ultimately suffered a 6-2 loss.
Cody Franson spoke to the media after the game and commented on what he thought went wrong for his team. “We got away from what’s been making us successful. We played a lot sloppier tonight than we have in the last little while. We weren’t as disciplined as we have been in our system and we gave up too many odd-man rushes.”
The Leafs are in action next on Tuesday when they host Nashville.