BY: Jeff Schneberk
In their last seven games under ‘new’ head coach Ted Nolan, the Sabres have won two games. Both of those games were against the same team.
Last night in Buffalo Christian Erhoff scored just as a Leaf penalty expired and they won 3-2 in overtime, getting their second win in seven games, against Toronto.
See it here:
For the first time in five games, those Sabres scored more than one goal in a game.
Phil Kessel and Nikolai Kulemin scored for Toronto, now winless in three games as the team’s legion of critics grows larger. But Coach Carlyle found positives in their performance.
“We did better tonight,” said Carlyle. “We still made some mistakes from our systems as far as diving in when we shouldn’t have, and giving up too many odd-man rushes.
“What can you do?” said coach Randy Carlyle. “Those are the things that are happening to you right now. We just have to put our nose to the grindstone and grind it up.
“The breaks aren’t going our way. You’ve got to find ways to create more and we had a power play that didn’t really get much going in the third period, we gave up a power-play goal earlier in the game.
The break he is talking about was a shorthanded rush down the right wing by JVR who was up-ended by a Sabre defender and there was no call. Half the crowd in Buffalo showed their reaction to the non-call, and after the game Carlyle voiced his displeasure too.
“In my mind, it shouldn’t be a penalty shot, but at least a penalty.”
See his press conference here: http://video.mapleleafs.nhl.com/videocenter/console?catid=802&id=498183&lang=en
Buffalo has replaced its coach and turfed its long-serving general manager. The team had been scoring an average of 1.62 goals a game heading into play on Friday night — by far the lowest total in the league — and had won only twice in regulation all season.
And yet, through two periods, they were out-shooting the Leafs.
Toronto will face the Montreal Canadiens tonight and then face the San Jose Sharks, Boston Bruins, Los Angeles Kings, St. Louis Blues, Chicago Blackhawks, Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings all before the holiday break.
“We’ve just got to stick with it,” Leafs forward James van Riemsdyk said. “It’s a long year. Don’t want to get too negative. You can never be too high, or too low. It’s a long season. So again, we’re in a decent position right now, still.”