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Saturday, April 13, 2024

No urgency, no secondary scoring are issues in Leafs’ loss to Sabres Specific Occasions

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Nobody anticipated the Maple Leafs to exit and beat up a bunch of Buffalo Sabres on Saturday night time.

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There was a rallying cry of types coming from the Leafs dressing room earlier within the day, a common resolve among the many gamers that, sure, they have been going to have one another’s backs after letting Boston Bruins captain Brad Marchand off the hook on Thursday.

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Two nights after the Leafs didn’t reply to Marchand’s ugly journey on Timothy Liljegren, a play that put the defenceman on longterm injured reserve, the Leafs couldn’t discover the motivation to play a superb hockey recreation in opposition to a Sabres staff that was spanked on residence ice by Philadelphia on Friday.

If shiny issues catch your consideration, be at liberty to take pleasure in Auston Matthews’ third hat trick in 11 video games this season.

Total in opposition to Buffalo, the Leafs didn’t muster a heck of so much in the best way of urgency and depth. 

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A 6-4 loss was the outcome, and whereas anybody can say it’s early, there needs to be concern. That’s 4 losses in a row for a Leafs staff that often will get inferior play out of the best way earlier than the calendar turns to November. 

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A file of 5-4-2, which the Leafs will lug right into a match on Monday night time in opposition to the Tampa Bay Lightning, is the mark of a mediocre staff.

“By way of the place our staff recreation is at, to me, we’ve bought a bunch of men that we have to get enjoying higher,” Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe stated.

If a ahead shouldn’t be named Matthews, Mitch Marner, John Tavares or William Nylander, the puck shouldn’t be going within the internet. The Leafs haven’t had an even-strength objective from one other ahead since Oct. 21 in Tampa Bay, when Matthew Knies scored twice in a Leafs win. Tyler Bertuzzi is the one different ahead who has scored prior to now two weeks, and that got here on an influence play in Dallas.

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Knies has two targets. Max Domi doesn’t have any. Bertuzzi has two, each on the facility play. Calle Jarnkrok has one objective. David Kampf, Pontus Holmberg and Ryan Reaves have none.

The dearth of secondary scoring is a priority, Keefe acknowledged, accurately.

“We’ve bought guys … Knies is new to the league, he has not discovered his stride offensively, Kampfer is a man who’s going to offer you every thing he has, however that’s not his main factor,” Keefe stated. “Domi is a man we anticipate extra out of, some contribution offensively. Maintain going again to that Tampa recreation, he makes two game-breaking performs that get us the win, permits us to get two factors. 

“That’s the type of contribution you want from him and Knies. It’s loads of heavy lifting for our prime guys proper now, for positive.”

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That’s the purpose to a level, isn’t it? Keefe can use one recreation for instance that Knies and Domi have made a distinction on the scoresheet and that’s it. 

Bertuzzi, hours after saying within the morning he had no excuses for his play, had one shot on objective in opposition to the Sabres. Domi had one. Knies had none. 

The Leafs’ lack of consideration to element within the first recreation of a five-game residence stand needs to be sounding, on the very least, some alarm bells. The Sabres have been solely to completely satisfied to benefit from Leafs errors. Marner’s turnover onto the tape of Tage Thompson, who had open ice earlier than beating Joseph Woll for a shorthanded objective, was one. Jeff Skinner bought in behind defenceman Max Lajoie, enjoying in his first recreation of the season for the Leafs, for one more. 

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Defensive breakdowns typically harm the Leafs, and when Alex Tuch scored into an empty internet, it marked the primary time this season that Toronto allowed six targets in a recreation. 

With Liljegren and Jake McCabe out, Lajoie was of little assist. He performed lower than 5 minutes, taking some shine off the next-man-up method. McCabe, Keefe stated, is a risk to practise on Sunday as he makes his method again from a groin harm. 

One potential return of a participant gained’t clear up the Leafs’ woes.

To a person, particularly those that have been developing small on the scoresheet, the Leafs must bear down with higher focus. 

“Too many careless performs, giving them too many free appears to be like round our internet,” Marner stated in summing up the injury. 

“We must be so much higher, must be far more aggressive, must again up residence ice much more. We want to ensure we’re those driving and never being passengers.”

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