Maple Leafs vs. Sabres observations: Ilya Samsonov’s struggles continue - world News Update

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The Buffalo Sabres person individual extremity songs, and nan Toronto Maple Leafs decided to perceive to arsenic galore arsenic possible.

Jordan Greenway opened nan scoring for nan Sabres little than 3 minutes in, and nan Sabres added 2 much earlier nan first intermission. Auston Matthews and Max Domi besides scored successful nan opening frame, but nan Leafs simply couldn’t support nan puck retired of their net. While Ilya Samsonov made a cardinal breakaway prevention connected Mattias Samuelsson, Buffalo’s first extremity was weak, and it looked for illustration it was only a matter of clip until we saw Martin Jones. Little defence was played connected either side.

The Leafs started nan 2nd pinch back-to-back penalties, and nan Sabres scored again conscionable 9 seconds into a five-on-three. The Sabres still had astir a afloat powerfulness play left, and correct erstwhile it looked for illustration nan crippled could get retired of hand, nan Swedish trio of Calle Järnkrok, William Nylander and Timothy Liljegren teamed up for a short-handed extremity to propulsion nan Leafs wrong one. Unfortunately for Leafs fans, nan Sabres conscionable ne'er stopped scoring.

Samsonov was pulled aft surrendering 5 goals connected 19 shots, and Jones allowed 4 goals successful relief. The Sabres allowed 9 goals against Columbus connected Tuesday, and they recovered a measurement to people conscionable arsenic galore against nan Leafs.

Fans who made nan travel crossed nan separator merit a refund.

This is only nan 2nd clip nan Leafs person allowed 9 goals successful a crippled since 1991.

Last 1 was nan disfigured 9-2 Nashville location crippled successful 2014 that preceded Salute Gate.

— James Mirtle (@mirtle) December 22, 2023

Three stars

1. Auston Matthews

Matthews continues to put connected a show nighttime aft night. He extended his extremity streak to six games conscionable 7 minutes successful and now has 12 goals successful nan past 8 games. He amazed Devon Levi aft putting a brace of Sabres successful nan rotation cycle:


Are you serious!? What a goal!

— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) December 22, 2023

Matthews had scored doubly successful each of nan erstwhile 3 games, but 1 extremity was still capable to gain him nan first star.

2. William Nylander

Nylander has a existent knack for sneaking past opposing defenders and creating either breakaways aliases two-on-ones. Immediately aft nan Sabres scored connected a five-on-three, Nylander recovered Järnkrok for a short-handed goal:


Shorthanded extremity from Nylander

— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) December 22, 2023

This felt for illustration a immense momentum plaything astatine nan time, but unluckily for nan Leafs, nan Sabres weren’t done scoring. Nylander now has a 10-game constituent streak, which is beautiful awesome for a subordinate who besides had a 17-game constituent streak to footwear disconnected nan season. He generated a bully scoring chance pinch a beardown individual effort halfway done nan third, but was incapable to hit Levi.

3. David Kämpf

He made a bully play to group up Noah Gregor for a high-danger chance 7 minutes in, and he wasn’t connected for a five-on-five extremity against until nan last minutes. There aren’t galore awesome performances to take from, truthful let’s springiness Kämpf nan motion for playing immoderate comparatively boring minutes.

Samsonov struggles successful a awesome way

Samsonov entered play pinch an .878 prevention percentage, but arsenic Sheldon Keefe pointed out, he’s not going to threat retired of it by sitting connected nan bench.

Sheldon Keefe connected Ilya Samsonov starting tonight: “He’s gotta play.”

— Joshua Kloke (@joshuakloke) December 21, 2023

Unfortunately, nan bounce-back effort didn’t get disconnected to an perfect start, arsenic this changeable hit him little than 3 minutes in:

Greenway blows Roberston up and heads down crystal for a changeable connected crystal and extremity

— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) December 22, 2023

The different 2 first-period goals weren’t egregious aliases anything, but it looked for illustration he was excessively progressive and retired of position acold excessively often.

Owen Power ties it astatine 2

— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) December 22, 2023

Jeff Skinner makes it 3-2

Bad turnover

— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) December 22, 2023

Samsonov was screened erstwhile Rasmus Dahlin scored connected a five-on-three, but his nighttime ended conscionable earlier nan halfway constituent erstwhile Tage Thompson hit him to nan mitt side:

Tage Thompson ends Samsonov's nighttime

the Leafs successful beforehand are sloppy but that can't spell successful

— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) December 22, 2023

It’s reliable to travel up pinch a crippled scheme for Samsonov astatine this point. He allowed six goals successful his past commencement against Blue Jackets, and 4 goals antecedently against nan Islanders. Goaltenders tin beryllium unpredictable, but Samsonov looks for illustration Petr Mrazek and Michael Hutchinson did pinch nan team. Keefe is correct that Samsonov needs to play to get retired of this funk, but it’s becoming difficult to warrant starting him.

A complete messiness defensively

Buffalo’s first extremity was weak, but nan Sabres generated plentifulness of scoring chances successful nan opening 20 minutes. Simon Benoit jumped up and covered nan aforesaid subordinate arsenic Bobby McMann up of nan Sabres’ 2nd goal, and nan Leafs’ protect building crumbled. Mitch Marner coughed nan puck up ahead of nan 3rd extremity against, and nan Leafs gave up a breakaway aft a five-on-three powerfulness play expired. Samsonov and Jones each made a breakaway save, but nan Sabres still racked up six goals by nan 2nd intermission. When you springiness up breakaway aft breakaway, your force is bound to capitalize eventually:

Kyle Okposo scores shorthanded. It's 6-3

— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) December 22, 2023

The main storyline retired of this crippled will beryllium Samsonov’s struggles, and for bully reason. However, Keefe is going to beryllium irate pinch this protect performance, and it feels for illustration they request to get acold much than conscionable 1 bully protect subordinate up of nan deadline. Toronto’s offseason was focused connected adding arsenic overmuch offence arsenic possible, and games for illustration this nonaccomplishment make you wonderment if capable attraction was paid to nan protect broadside of things.

On 1 hand, personification for illustration Chris Tanev could travel successful and beryllium a monolithic difference-maker. On nan different hand, 1 subordinate astir apt isn’t going to beryllium enough. Gregor and Nick Robertson aren’t precisely protect stalwarts, and there’s astatine slightest a chance that Domi’s iffy protect play pushes him to nan wing. Since they only person constricted assets to trade, they desperately request immoderate soul betterment successful their ain end.

Game score

Final grade: F

The Sabres were unopen retired against nan Arizona Coyotes connected Saturday, past proceeded to springiness up 9 goals against Columbus connected Tuesday. It was adjacent to expect Buffalo to alert retired of nan gates, but this is not an force that should beryllium generating chance aft chance against nan Leafs. While Toronto is dealing pinch immoderate injuries, it’s not for illustration John Klingberg aliases Ryan Reaves are stellar two-way players. Mark Giordano could thief this team, but he’s a third-pairing defender astatine this constituent successful his career, truthful he shouldn’t beryllium a monolithic difference-maker.

It’s difficult to enactment motivated erstwhile your goaltender can’t make a save, but nan Leafs had little-to-no protect structure. When you harvester sadistic protect play pinch sadistic goaltending, you get games for illustration this. The Leafs should beryllium embarrassed, conscionable for illustration nan Sabres were connected Tuesday, and it will beryllium absorbing to spot really they respond connected Saturday night.

What’s adjacent for nan Leafs?

Heading to Columbus to play nan Blue Jackets connected Saturday astatine 7 p.m. connected “Hockey Night successful Canada.”

(Photo: Bill Wippert / NHLI via Getty Images)