5 Observations: Maple Leafs topple Sabres 4-2

Posted at 10:33 PM, Apr 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-04 00:05:55-04

Three goals in 43 seconds. That's all the Toronto Maple Leafs needed on Monday evening to run the Buffalo Sabres out of their own building. Things got better for the Sabres, but barely, falling to the Maple Leafs 4-2.

Five observations from Monday's loss:

The worst period of the season

Maple Leafs shots: 18
Sabres shots: 2

The above statement isn't an exaggeration either. Buffalo's two shots came on a floater from the blue line and a bad-angle rebound at the goal line.

If it wasn't for Anders Nilsson it could've very easily been 5-0 after 20 minutes. The first frame on Monday was just atrocious from start to finish.

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    i s
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The good news -- the Sabres improved their shot total in every period.

The bad news -- They were more than doubled up in shots. Toronto finished the evening with 45 shots, compared to the Sabres 22.

Nylander vs. Nylander

Before we get to Alex.....how about that assist from Willie Nylander on the Auston Matthews goal? That was a thing of beauty.

Alright, back to Alex. For his first game, I thought there was a lot to like. He definitely has some moves and can dish the puck but he needs to play more physical.

Considering the number of chances against the Maple Leafs I don't think it's fair to say Nylander was a big factor, but I thought there was more to like than dislike in his first N.H.L game.

Rough for Robin, Neat for Nilsson

Robin Lehner has taken a lot of blame he hasn't deserved this year but on Monday he could use a redo. Just five minutes into the game Lehner was heading to the locker room after allowing three goals on five shots. In his defense, he didn't get much help from his defenders, but he didn't bail the Sabres out of the early onslaught either.

I've thought Lehner has had a very solid season and has proven that he can be at the very least the starter next season, but Monday wasn't his best outing by any stretch.

Anders Nilsson, on the other hand, was exceptional, stopping 39 of the 40 shots he faced. This could very well be the last time we see Nilsson this year or with the Sabres. As far as backups go, he's been quite the pleasant surprise this season.

One for the history books

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews LOVES Buffalo. In June Matthews was selected first-overall in the N.H.L. entry draft by the Maple Leafs. On Monday, he set the American goal record for a rookie with his 39th (!) of the campaign.

He's had some impressive games against the Sabres this season and looks like he'll be a throne in the Sabres side for years to come.

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