Nothing better than a Friday night game featuring two regional rivals, right? Maybe not for the 3,000-ish fans who probably ate their tickets and didn’t come to First Niagara Center, but for everyone who came to see some hockey, it was a treat.
Beginning a home-and-home set in Buffalo, the Toronto Maple Leafs knocked off the Sabres in a very heated preseason tilt by a score of 6-4.
Sabres goaltender Michal Neuvirth had an awful game, surrendering four goals on his first seven shots against and struggling on his way to the loss. In his first action of the preseason, Neuvirth finished with 16 saves.
“I was having a tough time finding the puck tonight,” Neuvirth said after the game.
The game was noticeably chippy, as three-ish fights broke out (not sure Tyler Myers and Toronto’s Sam Carrick going at it really counted) as Drew Stafford, Chris Stewart and Cody McCormick all picked up majors for fisticuffs.
Buffalo’s offense did have some life, most notably the stick of Chris Stewart, who tallied twice in the first period. The Sabres also got goals from Jake McCabe and Cody McCormick, but they trailed for the final 44:39 of the game.
James Reimer made 34 saves for the Leafs, as these two teams meet again on Sunday at Air Canada Centre.
- Safe to bet that Jhonas Enroth has a good chance to roll into the season as the team’s starting goaltender. Just a thought.
- Hell of a game out of Chris Stewart. His backhand goal early was fantastic, a great shot from that position. If he shows he can be a solid power forward for this team, that’ll be great for when they deal him before the deadline.
- Was honestly surprised at how few Leafs fans were in attendance. Friday night, cheap tickets… what’s the excuse? Traffic?
- Tim Schaller made his quasi-debut for the Sabres, and he probably earned himself a recall at some point during the season. Numbers game may force him out to start the season, but he’s the kind of guy Ted Nolan is going to adore.
You know, you figure since they decided to end the lockout, I figured it was time Chris Ostrander of Two In the Box and myself did another podcast.
In a brand new season premiere of the Instigator (new intro and everything!) we talk about the end of the lockout, where we go from here, the superpower that is USA Hockey, Canada being Canada, and we play Plus/Minus.
Just because the Sabres now have a guy named “Zemgus,” here comes the NHL Draft recap episode of “The Instigator Podcast” with me and Chris Ostrander of Two In the Box.
The obligatory NHL Draft talk centers around new Buffalo Sabres Mikhail Grigorenko, Zemgus Girgensons, and some other guys who don’t have names quite as fun. And, of course, we play Plus/Minus.