Well its a Friday Night Sabres Leafs game. Which can only mean one thing. Lots of blue and white downtown tonight. All delusional about their Leafs. We got Brian Burke things are gonna turn around!!!! Well you don't have a Chris Pronger. So hold on Leaf fans.
The Fiancee surprised me with tickets to tonights game for my birthday. Totally unexpected. She is the best and no one else can have her. Somehow she deals with me, and treats me great. Don't know what I do to deserve it, but I ain't asking questions. I'll go and enjoy the game win or lose.
On to the game. Its an important game. The Leafs are only 5 points behind the Sabres. So a win tonight for the blue and gold, will put more space between them and give the Sabres more confidence heading into the Holidays.
Coming into tonight are 3-5-2 in their last 10 and 2-3 in their last 5. They beat the lowly Islanders on Monday. Which isn't an accomplishment. Their record on the season stands at 10-12-6 or 10-18 if you Sullivanize the records. The Sabres are 14-11-3 or 14-14. Either way it doesn't tell you much.
The Leafs have some scoring with 9 guys with 5 goals or more. Led by Antropov and Grabovski with 10 goals each. Yes I know Thomas Vanek has more then him combined. But its a team game. Matt Stajan is the leading point getter with 23. Gone are the days when you said stop Sundin and that would be the defense. It seems theres a more balanced attack. Ponikarovsky and Hagman both have 19 points. Kaberle has 18 points and Jason Blake has 16 points. There are 2 solid lines for the Leafs, not super dangerous, but you can just show up and win against the Leafs anymore. Ron Wilson turned it around.
Except on the defensive side, where they let in a lot of goals. 98 on the year so far. Which is 17 more goals then the Sabres have given up. There are a lot of minus players on the Leafs. Their defensive players are also banged up with Van Ryn out and now their star rookie Luke Schenn out for a couple weeks. So its gonna be tough on Kaberle, Kubina, Stralman and Finger.
The goalies have not helped the Leafs out at all. Toskala has started 25 of the 28 games and is at a 3.15 GAA and a .887 Sv%. Though he might be on the overworked side due to the failure of Curtis Joesph to provide adequate backup relief. His stats are 3.95 GAA and a .851 sv%. Though the Leafs haven't played since Monday, fatique shouldn't be a factor. Just staying sharp.
The Sabres are coming in on a 3 game win streak, two straight 2 goal comebacks, and probably looking to make it 4. The atmosphere won't be dead at all so it should give the players a extra lift.
Thomas Vanek continues to be on fire. And a unstoppable force, he actually scored on a breakaway the other day. Hes better around the net. Now lets get Pominville and Roy on the same streak and the Sabres might have something.
Rivet looks to have solidfy the backend for the time being. With Sekera struggling a bit, you need the Vet leadership back there. Also to help out Miller who likes to be out of position ALL THE TIME.
What I'd like to see.
Since I'm going to be there in person. Here are somethings I'd like to see.
Gerbe score his first one. (Saw Mancari's, maybe I'm good luck)
Vanek get his 23rd, 24th and 25th
A Toronto Player do this.
Never gets old.
And hear my fiancee bad mouth Ryan Miller, its funny when she does it. As a former goalie, she does not like Millers form at all. Last year, she was rather embrassed by Alex Auld and look how good he is doing this year. She knows talent.
Well anyway see you at the game!