PITTSBURGH — No one said the Maple Leafs’ road to a playoff spot was going to be straightforward, yet the potholes the club creates for itself are becoming more damaging. Read MoreAs in-game troubles mount, Leafs trying to find ways to get back on course — Toronto Sun
PITTSBURGH — Sidney Crosby’s determination helps set him apart from the majority of players in the National Hockey League, never mind his skills and instincts. Read MoreCrosby a symbol of the challenges Penguins pose for Leafs — Toronto Sun
BUFFALO — Trouble is mounting for the Maple Leafs and they might not want to peer at what’s looming on the horizon. Read MoreLeafs’ effort is poor in loss to Sabres — Toronto Sun
HEAD COACH SHELDON KEEFE
On tonight’s game:
Well, obviously, for the first 10 minutes the first period, I thought we were fine. Not a lot happening really either way, but I thought we were fine to start the game. It got away on us in the second half of the first and then all through the second period, for the most part we weren’t really even in the building. We regrouped, had a really strong surge to start the third period, put ourselves in the position to tie the game. I thought we had some chances even to take a lead and then got off-kilter there with a penalty call against us and that goes in on us on the penalty kill. We obviously didn’t recover or respond well after that.
On his level of concern with the team handling tonight’s momentum swings:
To me it was pretty apparent from about the 10-minute mark of the first period on that we didn’t have it today. So, I was frankly I was a little stunned that we had the surge we did to start the third, just because we just didn’t seem to have it today. So I was impressed with our team and how we pushed and how we started in that third period. Like I said, we could have been ahead in that game. A penalty goes against us. We didn’t like the response there, but it seemed liked we played and defended tired for most of the game and just made life really easy for them.
On Andersen’s play in goal tonight:
Yeah, probably the one positive I’ll take from the game is Fred was able to get a lot of work today. Our goalies haven’t had a lot of work for quite some time in terms of the shots and chances against. So it’s a chance for Fred to get his confidence and get a lot of pucks, a lot of action and a lot of movement in the puck. Buffalo was really good today. We weren’t good at all, but I was impressed with Buffalo today. They moved with the puck with the skill they have, the depth, all four lines — they didn’t give you any shifts off — all six defence, their goaltender was very strong. We didn’t get a lot of action, but when we did get around the net, we had a lot of really good looks. He was excellent for them to not really let us get any sort of real momentum, but I was impressed by their team today. It was a lot of action for Fred.
FREDERIK ANDERSEN (31 SAVES)
On how he felt in tonight’s game:
Yeah, I just tried to focus on what I had to do on my part and obviously, we didn’t come up with the win so disappointing.
On his teammates feeling like they left him out to dry:
I don’t know I think everyone’s going to go through ups and downs, so I didn’t really think about anything I just tried to do my part. That’s all I’ve got to say.
ZACH HYMAN (1 GOAL)
On Buffalo’s three straight goals in the third and playing three games in four nights:
Everyone plays 82 games so 3-in-4 doesn’t matter. They got the momentum there on the power play and they scored two quick ones after that on two mistakes, one of them being mine and that’s it. That’s the game. It’s 5-2 and it’s hard to come back from that.
On what allowed the team to push early in the third:
Well, I think Freddie gave us a chance to win the game and I think we were in the game, down 2-1 going into the third. We were lucky to be down 2-1 going into the third. We came out and started the third strong and then that power play. After that there was a three-minute stretch there where they got three and then the game was over.
JASON SPEZZA (1 ASSIST)
On the momentum swings in the third period:
Yeah, we did a good job to make the push in the third and then they get the power play goal and we give them two more. At that point of the game we’ve got to find a way to drag points out of this. Fred played phenomenal for us and gave us a chance to be in the game and we probably didn’t deserve to be after two periods. These are games you’d like to see us drag points out of.
On the team’s ability to put together a full 60-minute effort:
It’s a tough time of year. Teams are going to take momentum; I don’t think you’re going to get 60 minutes of dominant hockey. You’re going to have to understand that you’ve got to control the momentum swings a little better than we did. You can’t give up three, the other team gets momentum and, for us, it’s being able to halt their momentum and get it back coming our way. It’s a tough time of year, you’ve got to drag points out of games, it’s a lot of hockey in a short period of time. We have to find a way to be better to get more points.
JOHN TAVARES (18:04 TOI)
On tonight’s third period after tying the game:
Yeah, we got ourselves back in it in a game that we probably didn’t deserve to be in. We stuck with it and found a way; Freddie gave us a great chance and then we just make mistakes. Obviously, a great opportunity to grab some points, find a way to get a win and let it get away from us.
More on the third period:
We didn’t execute and they came hard and played hard and we just didn’t match them.
TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS (31-20-8 – 70 Points) vs.
BUFFALO SABRES (26-24-8 – 60 Points)
FEBRUARY 16, 2020 ▪ 7:00 PM EST
KEYBANK CENTER (BUFFALO, NY) ▪
TV: SPORTSNET ▪ RADIO: SPORTSNET 590 THE FAN
MAPLE LEAFS HISTORY versus BUFFALO
|ALL-TIME RECORD:||83-105-18-11 (217 Games)|
|ALL-TIME ON THE ROAD:||32-65-6-6 (109 Games)|
MAPLE LEAFS CAREER LEADERS versus BUFFALO
|GAMES PLAYED:||Jason Spezza (65), John Tavares (33), Morgan Rielly (26)|
|GOALS:||Jason Spezza (23), John Tavares (21), Auston Matthews (11)|
|ASSISTS:||Jason Spezza (48), John Tavares (19), Morgan Rielly (13)|
|POINTS:||Jason Spezza (71), John Tavares (40), Auston Matthews (17)|
|PENALTY MINUTES:||Jason Spezza (44), Zach Hyman (20), John Tavares (18)|
MAPLE LEAFS – SABRES TEAM STATS
|GOALS FOR (Rank):||208 (2nd)||165 (t-21st)|
|GOALS AGAINST (Rank):||190 (27th)||179 (18th)|
|POWER PLAY [%] (Rank):||40/160 [25.0%] (t-3rd)||32/166 [19.3%] (t-19th)|
|PENALTY KILL [%] (Rank):||129/165 [78.2%] (23rd)||123/164 [75.0%] (29th)|
|SHOTS (Rank):||1976 (4th)||1692 (29th)|
|5-on-5 SHOT ATTEMPTS FOR (Rank):||2979 (2nd)||2361 (30th)|
|5-on-5 SHOT ATTEMPT % (Rank):||52.5% (5th)||49.3% (18th)|
|FACEOFF % (Rank):||52.9% (3rd)||46.2% (31st)|
MAPLE LEAFS – SABRES NOTES
|First Matchup between Clubs:||November 18, 1970 vs. Buffalo (Buffalo 7, Toronto 2)|
|All-Time Record:||83-105-18-11 (217 Games)|
|All-Time Record at Home:||51-40-12-5 (108 Games)|
|All-Time Record on the Road:||32-65-6-6 (109 Games)|
|Last Win vs. Opponent on the Road:||March 2, 2019 (Toronto 5, Buffalo 2)|
MAPLE LEAFS MILESTONES vs. SABRES
|Frederik Andersen||100th win as a Maple Leaf (February 25, 2019 vs. Buffalo)|
|Tyson Barrie||100th NHL point (Goal) (March 28, 2015 (COL) vs. Buffalo)|
|Cody Ceci||First NHL game (December 12, 2013 (OTT) vs. Buffalo)|
|Frederik Gauthier||First NHL game (March 19, 2016 vs. Buffalo)|
|Zach Hyman||First NHL point (Goal) (March 7, 2016 vs. Buffalo)|
|Martin Marincin||First goal as a Maple Leaf (March 19, 2016 vs. Buffalo)|
|Auston Matthews||200th NHL point (Assist) (March 20, 2019 at Buffalo)|
|John Tavares||400th NHL assist (November 30, 2019 vs. Buffalo)|
MAPLE LEAFS LEADERS
|POWER PLAY POINTS||22 (Matthews)|
|SHORTHANDED POINTS||2 (Engvall, Kapanen)|
|FACEOFF WIN%||57.5% (Gauthier)|
|5-on-5 SHOT ATTEMPT %||55.5% (Nylander)|
|BLOCKED SHOTS||94 (Muzzin)|
|TOI PER GAME||24:15 (Rielly)|
|PP TOI PER GAME||3:06 (Marner)|
|SH TOI PER GAME||2:50 (Ceci)|
MAPLE LEAFS PLAYER NOTES
|Frederik Andersen||– Tied for second among NHL goaltenders in wins (24).- Has a 14-4-0 record on the road with a .922 save percentage and a 2.52 goals-against average.- Has a save percentage over .900 in 55.8 percent of his starts this season, which is the sixth-highest percentage among goaltenders who have appeared in 40 games.|
|Tyson Barrie||– Has five multi-assist games, which is tied for 12th-most among NHL defencemen.- Tied for 10th among NHL defencemen in multi-point games (9).|
– Leads the Maple Leafs in slap shots taken (51).- Averages 14.49 shot attempts per game at 5-on-5, which is the fourth-highest average among NHL defencemen who have played in at least 50 games.
|Jack Campbell||– Has a 3-0-1 record with a .919 save percentage and a 2.40 goals-against average since being acquired by the Maple Leafs.|
|Kyle Clifford||– Ranks sixth among NHL left wingers who have appeared in 50 games in 5-on-5 shot attempt percentage (54.7%).|
– Ranks 26th among NHLers who have appeared in at least 50 games played in hits per 60 minutes (9.25).
|Pierre Engvall||– Signed a two-year contract extension on February 12.- Has played 31.4 percent of Toronto’s shorthanded ice time since joining the team, which is the second-highest shorthanded time on ice percentage among the League’s rookie forwards who have appeared in at least 30 games.- Has an on-ice goals-for percentage of 57.1 percent at 5-on-5, which is the second highest among NHL rookie forwards who have appeared in 30 games.|
|Justin Holl||– Ranks first in 5-on-5 shot attempt percentage (52.4%) among right-handed defencemen who have started less than 45 percent of their 5-on-5 shifts in the offensive zone (44.4%).- Has the highest unblocked shot attempt percentage at 5-on-5 (52.9%) among right-handed defencemen to have started fewer than 45 percent (44.4%) of their shifts in the offensive zone.|
|Zach Hyman||– Third among Toronto skaters and tied for 25th among NHLers in points since January 1 (8-9-17; 18 GP).- Has 11 points (3-8-11) in 11 games against Atlantic Division opponents this season. – Ranks fifth among Maple Leafs skaters in points per game (0.80).|
|Kasperi Kapanen||– Has drawn 13 penalties this season and taken four, which gives him the highest net penalties among Toronto skaters (+9) and ranks tied for 26th among NHL forwards.- Ranks second among Maple Leafs and 12th among NHL right wingers who have appeared in 50 games in assists per 60 minutes of ice time (1.24) at 5-on-5.- Has recorded 20 (8-12-20) of his 32 points in 29 games on the road this season.|
|Alex Kerfoot||– Ranks second among Toronto skaters who have appeared in 40 games in assists per 60 minutes of ice time (1.27) at 5-on-5.- Tied for eighth among Maple Leafs in even-strength points (7-15-22).- Has 10 points (4-6-10) in 15 games against Atlantic Division opposition.|
|Mitch Marner||– Tied for eighth among NHL skaters in assists (44). Has the most assists among NHLers who have appeared in fewer than 50 games.- Has 12 multi-assist games, which is tied for the third-most among NHL skaters.- Averaging 1.23 points per game, which is the 10th-highest average in the NHL.- Averaging 1.84 assists per 60 minutes of ice time at 5-on-5, which is tied for fourth among NHLers who have appeared in at least 40 games.- Ninth in the NHL in primary assists (28). His 28 primary assists are the most among NHLers who have appeared in 50 or fewer games.|
|Auston Matthews||– Tied for first among NHL skaters in goals (42).- Leads the NHL with 31 even-strength goals.- Leads the NHL in goals scored at 5-on-5 (26).- Leads the NHL in wrist shot goals (26).- Second in the NHL in multi-goal games (10).- Ninth among NHL skaters in points (42-29-71).- Fourth in the NHL with 240 shots on goal.|
|William Nylander||– Leads the Maple Leafs in game-winning goals (5).- One of eight NHLers to average at least 14:00 minutes per game at 5-on-5 (14:35) while maintaining a goal per 60-minute rate of at least 1.20 (1.30).- Averages 2.26 takeaways per 60 minutes of ice time, which ranks third among Toronto skaters who have appeared in at least 40 games.- Averaging 13.58 shot attempts per 60 minutes of ice time at 5-on-5, which ranks seventh among NHL right wingers who average 14:00 per game at 5-on-5 (14:35).|
|Rasmus Sandin||– Ranks third among rookie defencemen who have appeared in at least 10 games in points per 60 minutes of ice time (1.25) at 5-on-5. – Has a 5-on-5 shot attempt percentage of 54.9 percent, which ranks third among rookie defencemen who have skated in at least 10 games.|
|Jason Spezza||– Averaging 1.89 points per 60 minutes of ice time at 5-on-5 this season, which is the sixth-highest average among Toronto skaters who have appeared in at least 40 games.- Averaging 0.94 goals per 60 minutes of ice time at 5-on-5 this season, which ranks third among Maple Leafs who have appeared in at least 40 games.|
|John Tavares||– Tied for 22nd among NHL skaters in multi-point games (15).- Has 10 points (5-5-10) in eight games during the month of February.- Has an on-ice shot attempt percentage of 54.3 percent at 5-on-5 when the Maple Leafs are leading in games, which is the highest percentage when leading among NHL forwards who have appeared in at least 40 games and average 15 minutes per game in 5-on-5 ice time (15:37).- Has drawn a team-high 15 penalties this season. – Has won 55.3 percent of his offensive zone faceoffs this season, which is the 11th-highest percentage among NHLers who have taken 900 draws in all situations.|
CURRENT POINT STREAKS
|Zach Hyman||Has points (3-3-6) in five consecutive games.|
|Mitch Marner||Has points (1-1-2) in two consecutive games.|
|Auston Matthews||Has goals (2) and points (2-1-3) in two consecutive games.|
|William Nylander||Has points (1-1-2) in two consecutive games.|
|John Tavares||Has assists (3) in three consecutive games and points (5-5-10) in seven consecutive games.|
|William Nylander||Four games from 300 games.|
|Jason Spezza||Five assists from 600 assists|
|Timothy Liljegren||First NHL point (Assist) (February 15 at Ottawa)|
|Cody Ceci (Ankle)||On injured reserve.|
|Andreas Johnsson (Knee)||Left Toronto’s game on February 13 vs. Dallas and did not return.|
|Ilya Mikheyev (Wrist Laceration)||On injured reserve.|
|Morgan Rielly (Foot)||On injured reserve.|
|Man Games Lost: 152|
|February 14||Loaned forward Pontus Aberg and goaltender Michael Hutchinson to the Toronto Marlies (AHL).|
|February 13||Activated goaltender Frederik Andersen from injured reserve. Placed goaltender Michael Hutchinson on waivers.|
|February 12||Signed forward Pierre Engvall to a two-year contract extension.|
|February 10||Recalled forward Pontus Aberg from the Toronto Marlies (AHL).|
Placed goaltender Frederik Andersen on injured reserve.
By LANCE HORNBY
OTTAWA — Welcome to the 70s, Maple Leafs.
Though it felt like years to get here, and added grey hairs behind the bench and in the management booth, Toronto broke the 70-point barrier on Saturday with what turned into a 4-2 nail-biter win over the 49-point Ottawa Senators.
Where close to 80 by this stage of the NHL schedule seemed possible after Christmas, the Leafs hit some potholes with injuries, weak goaltending and even recent scoring issues as they flailed around .500.
That was eased to a degree on Saturday at the Canadian Tire Centre when the Leafs scored first, built upon it and, when the Sens rallied, had the proper response, with Jack Campbell bending, but not breaking in net.
“When they made a push, we came back and made plays in their end,” said Auston Matthews, whose 42nd goal in his favourite visiting rink opened the scoring.
At least now, Toronto has simplified the math to a magic playoff number somewhere in the mid-90s, if they manage some combo of 25 points in their remaining 23 games. They’ve yet to escape the pursuing Panthers, who lost again at home Saturday and are four points back with a game in hand, but Florida is also among 13 teams still in the mushy 60-plus points bracket.
“I not keeping track of where are points are. I just know we have to collect as many as we can,” said coach Sheldon Keefe. “We took care of what we needed to today and now have a chance to do it tomorrow (in Buffalo).”
After the puzzling low output from blending Matthews, Mitch Marner and William Nylander on a super dollar-sign line, Keefe went back to the less glamorous, but effective Zach Hyman on their left wing. Nylander shifted back to John Tavares and Alex Kerfoot, while the starting five included popular former Senator Jason Spezza, with Pierre Engvall and Kyle Clifford.
The Leafs were on the roster tightrope at forward after Andreas Johnsson required surgery on his knee and Pontus Aberg was sent back to the Marlies. After reinstating Frederik Gauthier and Dmytro Timashov, the Leafs have no extra forwards and one spare defenceman, Martin Marincin.
Yet, with the Marlies winning four straight, Keefe is reluctant to mess with the farm team’s chemistry unless he really has to.
Matthews waited for Ottawa goalkeeper Marcus Hogberg to commit before scoring his 15th in 13 games overall against the Sens.
Then Nylander helped set up Jake Muzzin’s first goal in months, before tipping in his own via Tavares.
But with the Nylander goal signalling Hogberg’s departure on 16 shots, Craig Anderson came in and Ottawa fought its way back in on goals by Connor Brown and Cody Goloubef.
Andersen stopped a couple of breakaways before Marner’s high floating empty-netter, assisted by Matthews.
Only 10 Leafs have ever reached 42 goals, topped by Rick Vaive’s franchise-record 54. Nylander’s 26th is as many goals as his father Michael had in his best NHL campaign, 13 years ago with the Rangers.
Campbell, whose enthusiasm for this new career chapter since the trade with L.A. is infectious, couldn’t get over how many Toronto fans were here.
“That was cool, that first lap (of warmup) with all the blue and white,” he said after 25 saves and his third win in four games, one fewer than Michael Hutchinson before the latter was waived on Friday.
“The boys have played well and now Andersen’s back (starting in Buffalo).”
The one-anthem game began with recognition of the Canadian flag’s 55th anniversary of being flown above Parliament Hill, and a high number of visiting minor hockey players and Winterlude vacationers pushing recent sparse attendance to the Sens’ first sellout of 2019-20.
“I’m used to being on the other side,” joked Brown earlier in the day of the heavy Toronto presence.
“Hopefully, all those people will forget to come.”
HEAD COACH SHELDON KEEFE
On the win starting with Campbell’s play in goal:
I would say in part. Soupy played a good game for us today. I thought our team played a good hockey game. You know, I thought we had a really good second period, they pull the goaltender, it changes momentum a little bit and I didn’t like how we responded for that final segment in the second period. But I liked a lot about our third period. Maybe three or four of our best chances of the game come in the third period there, we could have really blown the game open, but their goalie made a bunch of saves and let them hang around, so it made it interesting. Luckily, we got the bounce to go our way on the empty net, which I think we earned that bounce through our play with it.
On the opportunity to coach a game in Ottawa:
Well, it was special for me and nothing to do with the game or anything like that, but just a chance to see many of the people that were important in supporting me and my family through our time in Pembroke and the operation of the Lumber Kings. To have them in the building and have a chance to thank them each in person was important to me. Anytime when I think about the chance for me to coach in the NHL, right away I would think, ‘How can I thank those people?’ I can never say or do anything to really repay them for everything they sacrificed to give me a start and a foundation to be able to coach at that level. But having them in the building was special, and I was happy that it worked out.
On his evolution since taking over as head coach:
I think I’ve grown as I’ve learned about the League and the schedule and how quickly you have to reset for the next day and also how important framing each win or loss or adversity for the team because you have to manage the emotions because you don’t have time to let things fester. You’ve got to deal with things. So that would be the biggest thing and the biggest adjustment coming from the American League, just how quickly the games come at you and kind of relentless especially in this month.
JACK CAMPBELL (25 SAVES)
On if it matters whether the team is playing on the road and at home:
I don’t it does. I think the team plays great no matter what the situation is. Just happy to be here and glad the boys played so well and got two points.
On being 3-0-1 in goal since his arrival:
I would have loved to have kept that Scandella shot out in Montreal so we would have had six out of six, but I think the boys have played really well and we’ve gotten some big points. With Freddie coming back it just gives us a lot of momentum. We’ve got a pretty busy schedule here, so we’ve just got to hit the reset button tomorrow and be ready to go.
AUSTON MATTHEWS (1 GOAL, 1 ASSIST)
On Campbell’s play in net tonight:
Yeah, Soupy was great for us. He made some huge saves. I mean, you see him in there and he’s having so much fun. He just loves to compete and loves to battle for the guys, he came up with some big saves and obviously a big two points for us to pull out.
On his goal in the first period:
I just tried to wait him out and then saw a little bit of an opening and just tried to sneak it in there so that’s about it.
JAKE MUZZIN (1 GOAL)
On his goal in the second period:
I just saw traffic in front and just wristed one in there and it found its way through. It’s nice to get one once in a while.
On if there’s a secret to the team’s road success:
I don’t know, maybe that workman mentality coming in here, getting two points and getting out, that type of feel to the game and into our team. We did a lot of good things tonight and we’ll look to build on it and continue going forward.
On the importance of getting the first goal:
We always want to come out and have a good start, especially in away buildings and tonight we were able to get on the board and get going.