I had an idea for a post tonight but it’s probably best to just invite the usual thoughtful commentary from readers here at VLM, on the heels of the Toronto’s shoot-out win over the Sabres Wednesday night.
We all know this was one of those games where the Leafs could easily have suffered a hangover from a big road win the night before, especially as they are surely looking ahead to facing Montreal on Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday. But they outshot and out-chanced Buffalo and earned an important win in Eastern Conference playoff race.
Just a few brief comments: Carlyle went with pretty much the same lineup that bested the Beantowners the night before—Ashton and Orr played precious little; McClement was in his fourth-line/penalty duty slot. Holland continued to demonstrate that, given sufficient ice time, he can put up some points. Kadri made a nifty pass to Reilly for Toronto’s third goal. Gleason played over 20 minutes.
Again, as was the case the night before, there were some good signs. I'm sure some of you noticed things I didn't.
The Leafs looked like they wanted to win this one in regulation, and very nearly did. I thought Ryan Miller played better as the game went on. (I’m not sure, by the way, that I agree with the thesis that Miller always plays well against Toronto. To me, he’s played some pretty mediocre games against the blue and white in recent years, but yes, he’s had some stellar games as well.)
As for Reimer, well, as I often say, you can’t play with a piano on your back. He’s obviously under a microscope and the reality of playing once in a blue moon can’t be easy. The guy is clearly not himself. He’s fighting things. He needs a big save at a big moment to get his confidence back. Maybe his clutch stop in the dying seconds of overtime (which, in the end, protected the extra point for Toronto) will kick-start him a bit. He wasn’t really tested a lot against an under-skilled Sabre side, but did enough to get a win.
Again, some positives were in evidence, albeit against a team that is fighting an uphill battle this season.
I’ll save my post idea for another time. In the meantime, share any comments you might have on the Leafs as we look ahead to playing the Habs.