BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — In their fourth and final matchup of the 2018-2019 season, the Toronto Maple Leafs completed the season sweep against the Buffalo Sabres with a 4-2 win. Casey Mittelstadt and Alex Nylander scored the Sabres two goals as they fall to 31-33-9.
5 Observations from Wednesday's loss:
Rather than starting with something negative, which certainly could have been the case, let's focus on one of the few positives from Wednesday's matchup. In the first period, Rasmus Dahlin recorded his 39th point of the season, picking up an assist on Casey Mittelstadt's goal. With the assist, Dahlin passed Bobby Orr for the second-most points by an 18-year-old NHL defenseman in NHL history. With nine games left this season, it'll be nearly impossible for Dahlin to surpass Phil Housley's 57-point rookie campaign from 1982-1983. However, to stand alone in second place is truly remarkable and something that should be celebrated.
Give the man some help
I feel bad for Carter Hutton.
Despite allowing three goals, Hutton earned third-star honors for his 42-save performance on Wednesday. Without counting the two goals that found the back of the net off crazy bounces [which I know, isn't entirely fair], Hutton was only beaten by one shot from Mitch Marner in the opening minutes of the third period.
If it hadn't been for Hutton this game could've gotten out of hand even sooner. Shot totals rarely tell the entire story of a game but on Wednesday Toronto outshot the Sabres 46-24 and controlled play for most of the evening. Hutton was strong, the rest of his team was not.
With their loss on Wednesday, the Sabres finish the 2018-2019 season with an 0-3-1 record against their rivals from Toronto. Aside from the first meeting of the season between the two teams, none of the other three games have really been that close. The Sabres have controlled the pace of play for a period here and there but for the most part, the Leafs have dominated their four matchups this season. Maybe the Sabres can get a win next season.
Alex Nylander Goal— Ben Mathewson (@Ben_Mathewson) March 21, 2019
3-2 Toronto pic.twitter.com/zO7HZNhbgF
Alex Nylander still has a lot to prove but his goal on Wednesday was pretty eyeopening. In the third period, the Sabres Nylander rifled a one-timer just under the cross-bar and past Leafs goaltender Garret Sparks. For Nylander, it's only his second goal in the NHL but it's also his third point in the last two games. To say the 21-year-old winger has turned a corner would be way too premature. However, if he can close out the season with a solid nine-game stretch it's likely we'll see him on the Sabres opening night roster next season.
There really isn't a scientific or accurate way of getting a gauge on how many Maple Leafs fans were in the building on Wednesday. That said, from the press box it looked like there was about a 70-30 split, with nearly three-quarters of the arena filled with fans chanting "Go Leafs Go."
Should it bother you that Toronto fans are completing taking over the arena? Well, that's up to you.
My thought is this -- If the Sabres aren't going to show up then why should the fans? Of course, we're all entitled to our own opinions.