The Toronto Maple Leafs made the short jaunt across the border into Buffalo on Saturday night and returned home with a 3-0 victory in their pockets. What were the good, bad, and ugly aspects of the game?

Related: The Good, Bad, & Ugly In Maple Leafs 5-1 Win Over Capitals

The Good


The Maple Leafs fans that attended the game at KeyBank Center in Buffalo (and there were a lot of them) saw history being made as Auston Matthews became the first Maple Leafs player, the first American-born player, and just the ninth NHL player overall, in the 107-year-old history of the NHL, to score 60 goals in multiple seasons. 

Auston Matthews, Maple Leafs

With nine games left in the regular season, seeing how many goals Matthews can score will be interesting. The next “milestone” mark would be the 65 goals Alex Ovechkin scored in 2007-08. Every goal Matthews scores from here on out will set some kind of a record.

6 For 6

A huge factor in the win for the Maple Leafs was the penalty kill going six for six in the game. TJ Brodie led the way for the Toronto penalty-killers with 6:58 of ice time. David Kampf, Jake McCabe, Pontus Holmberg, and Mark Giordano each played over four minutes on the PK.


Coaches like to break down games into periods with the idea of winning each period. Head Coach Sheldon Keefe would have been happy to see the Maple Leafs win each period 1-0. 


Ilya Samsonov was the Maple Leafs’ best player, earning his third shutout of the season. He was especially stellar in the third period when the Sabres fired 16 shots at him, nine of which were High-Danger Scoring Chances according to One particular save on Dylan Cozens will surely make the year-end highlight reels. 

Samsonov has won 15 of his last 19 starts, going 15-3-1 in that stretch.

88 > 13

William Nylander assisted on the 1-0 goal by John Tavares in the first period. That assist gave Nylander 95 points. That number is the most points in one season by a Swedish player. While Sundin was the highest-scoring player in Maple Leafs history with 987 points his highest single-season points total was 94. Sundin did score 114 points in 1992-93 but it was while playing for the Quebec Nordiques. 

Related: Maple Leafs Need to Get Devils’ Game Out of Their Systems

The Bad And The Ugly

I could not decide which of these situations deserved to be in the “Ugly” category, and which belonged in the “Bad.” 

Simon Benoit

At 5:42 of the third period, Simon Benoit made the defensive play of the game. He put the Sabres’ Victor Olofsson flat on his back without holding him, hooking him, or tripping him when Olofsson attempted to break around him one-on-one in the Toronto zone. Unfortunately, one of the referees ignored the rule book when he decided to call Benoit for interference. Olofsson had the puck when contact was initiated by Benoit.  

The 21st Century Version Of a Bench Clearing Brawl

In the last minute of the game, Rasmus Dahlin ignited a face-washing brawl when he hit TJ Brodie into the boards from behind in the Toronto zone. Mark Giordano came to Brodie’s defence and jumped Dahlin. The next thing you know all ten skaters on the ice are paired off, hugging, wrestling, face-washing, and having a great old time.

A couple of players might have accidentally dropped their gloves; however, it was obvious that no one really wanted to fight. I waited to see if Sabres goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen would skate down the ice and hug Samsonov. However, he had no interest in doing so. 

The referees awarded the players the opportunity to be first in the showers when they gave all ten skaters who were on the ice 10-minute misconduct penalties.

One interesting side note of the scrum was that Auston Matthews, who had a grand total of four minutes in penalties this season up his total to 16 minutes. Matthews earned his third minor penalty of the season when he got his stick caught up in the midsection of Zach Benson and Benson did a nice single-lux to draw the call. Then, in the last-minute scrum, Matthews gave 6-foot-6 Tage Thompson the meanest-looking bear hug I have ever seen and was one of the ten skaters to earn a ten-minute misconduct for his efforts. 

What’s Next?

The fun and games end for the Maple Leafs as the competition gets real this week. They take on the Florida Panthers on Monday night and then host the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday. Right now there is a good chance that the Panthers will be the Maple Leafs’ first-round opponent in the opening round of the playoffs. This game could help set a tone if that were to happen. The Tampa Bay game could also go a long way to determining exactly who the Maple Leafs play in the first round. 

Related: Ilya Samsonov Was Brilliant in the Net for the Maple Leafs

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *