Well that was some freaking fun. 5-4 Final in OT. Let’s talk about it.
-You really can’t blame McCabe for trying, but that was the second time he swiped it in the direction of his own net as time is expiring. (Once in regulation and the own goal in OT) I know it worked the first time, but that is certainly not a high percentage play he makes. Especially directing the puck back towards the net. Curious play at best.
– Overall the Leafs played a much better defensive game. Very tight on the blue line and forced a lot of pucks to the sideboards. Well, until the third period. I mean, did someone say “Go” on the Sabres bench, or did all that cash on the blueline weigh them down?
– The Sabres D was, well… it worked out in the end. The defensive focus we saw in the last two games was a bit lacking tonight, proved by all four Leafs goals. Gamache should have been tied up, Antropov needs to get cleared out in front (they weren’t calling anything at that point), and both Kilger goals looked way too easy. He is anything but a goalscorer.
– One thing I have noticed are Roy’s slip ups on D so far this year. Granted, he has been an good penalty killer, but he had two points tonight and still wound up a -1. It’s nothing new, I distinctly remember him not staying with the play in front on opening night, leading to a Hunter’s goal and a 6-4 deficit early in the third. I’m not implying anything, but it is something I have noticed. All I’m saying is I’d like to notice less of it.
– Overall goaltending play was pretty good. Raycroft impressed me, making a few big stops early. He also got a lot of help from the goal posts, which seemed to ring quite often tonight. Four goals on 19 shots in the third looks less impressive, but for facing 42 shots he played pretty well. Late he had some huuuuuge rebounds, but you can’t argue with starting him over Toskala after how he looked in the preseason game.
– In his first start this year, Thibault looked a bit shaky but got the job done. He never really looked comfortable, but I think it was a good move to start him tonight. He knows what a Leafs game is like from his days in Montreal, and with Miller dealing with family issues, you can’t blame Lindy for giving him the night off. Only 25 shots against, so if he somehow was your fantasy goaltender tonight, you’re out of luck. Otherwise you can’t complain about your backup’s first start. He will get better, just hope his hip holds up.
– Overall the game was entertaining, but a bit frightful to see. It was good to see the Sabres get sparked and explode, but once again defensive breakdowns were obvious. Play inside the zone has to get better, with a better pickup of loose players by back checkers. If this team wants to go coast to coast, they better learn to cover the latter shore.
-Thank God I didn’t go to this game. I’ve never been a Sabres/Leafs game and I was temped to get a ticket tonight. I decided against it, realizing that after listening to Cowboys fans last week and Leafs fans this week, I would have been arrested for sure. There’s only so much smug a guy can take.
Speaking of annoying people…
– Did you see that guy around Section 108 or so that stood up while on his cell phone and waved? I hate those people. It’s a slight variation of “guy behind home plate on cell phone”, but is even worse because if you are behind him, he’s suddenly annoying and in the way. I don’t sit in the lower bowl that often, but I swear if anyone actually does that in front of me one time, well, he will be getting a stern talking to. With vitriol.