Frattin fuels Leafs to OT win over Sabres
The Leafs traveled to Buffalo for their second meeting of the season with the Sabres, and their first at the HSBC arena,
a barn that has often played host to Leafs misfortunes. The first period started off with a lot of energy, but not a lot of shots. Buffalo had a quick 2-on-1 break, but Phaneuf, who has received a lot of unfair criticism, made a great defensive play to stop the break. Finally, 9 minutes into the game, the Leafs finally got their first shot of the game, which is not good enough if you want to beat Ryan Miller. However, a couple minutes later, at 9:25, Jay McClement scored on a rebound for his first goal as a Maple Leaf after some great work in the corner by Kulemin and a wicked wrist shot that hit the bar by Kadri. It was Kadri’s 6th point in 6 games and that also gives him the team lead in points. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, he needs to play more! At 13:04 of the first, Mike Brown was called for delay of the game by putting his hand over the puck, which simultaneously resulted in a powerplay for the Sabres. Of course, it came back to bite us as at 14:28, Jason Pominville corralled a rebound and put it high glove, beating Reimer. The score after 1 was 1-1, with the Leafs having 6 shots over the Sabres’ 5.
The second periond saw the Leafs squander an early PP and the Sabres dominated early. At 2:28, Sekera managed to wander through the offensive zone and receive a pass for a quick move to his backhand where he beat Reimer high glove again for a goal. Buffalo continued to pressure until Franson fed Frattin at the 3:40 mark for the equalizer. Franson would find the back of the net at the 6:21 mark (assists to Kessel and Bozak) with and elusive point shot to give the Leafs the lead. While the Leafs outscored the Sabres, it was Buffalo who controlled the play, putting up 15 shots compared to the Leafs 7. If it wasn’t for Reimer, the game could have been out out of reach before the third.
The third period saw the Leafs get outshot 10-8 and outscored 1-0. Rookie Mikhail Grigorenko preyed on the Leafs’ generous propensity to allow for “firsts” of every kind and scored what is sure to be one of many NHL goals 7:10 into the period, with assists going to Weber and Foligno. Reimer made some big saves in the third, but to be fair, the Leafs did not appear to fold as they kept playing hard in the offensive zone. They did a good job of cycling the puck and kept their feet moving. Time for some OT!
Overtime was your typical case of trading chances back and forth, but this time, it was the Leafs who would bury a puck with 1.5 seconds left, a situation that wouldn’t have been hard to imagine reversed given some recent nightmarish performances at the HSBC. Scoring the winner was Matt Frattin who made a nice move around a slow skating Jordan Leopold, pulled the puck to his forehand and then beat Ryan Miller shortside for his second of the game. Maybe not the Leafs’ most deserving win of the season, but an important one nonetheless as the Buds move back to .500.
Next game is Thursday against the Capitals.
It exists! Fans just saw another solid performance from James Reimer! That’s now 3 games and 3 very very solid games from our number 1 netminder. Reimer made 29 saves, several of them tough to stop, and with his strong play, he is starting to quiet down those Luongo rumours! Once again he made big saves when we needed him and gave us a chance to win, which is what’s asked of him.
Seems like the Kadri hate-wagon has quieted down, as he’s continued to respond, this time by setting up the first goal of the game as he rifled a shot off the crossbar which then landed on the stick of McClement for the easy tap in. Kadri was a +2, played almost 18 minutes and now has 6 points in 6 games played this season. I can’t wait to see if he can keep it up! I think he has earned a chance to center Kessel and JvR, and don’t be surprised to see that happen sooner than later.
Phil the Thrill played a season high 26 minutes, recorded 1 assist and had 3 shots on net. He fought hard and skated for loose pucks. I do not have a problem with his compete level, and once he scores his first goal, you can bet the rest will come in bunches. He is too good for this streak to continue for much longer.
-Komarov registered his first NHL point on the Matt Frattin 2nd period goal
-Grigorenko’s first NHL Goal was the tying 3-3 goal in the 3rd period
-Kessel’s assist on Franson’s goal was his first point since the season opener
-Reimer was once again really strong, but the Leafs hung him out to dry
-Kessel and JvR both played over 25 minutes
-Much better job of spreading out ice time for the Defense
-Phaneuf, Kostka, Liles, Gunner all over 20 minutes, but nobody over 30
-Jay McClement looked really good on a line with Grabovski and Kulemin