Toronto Maple Leafs: Meltdown against Sabres inexcusable

The Toronto Maple Leafs had an inexcusable meltdown against the Buffalo Sabres and you have to wonder when they will learn their lesson?

When you looked at the Toronto Maple Leafs schedule and see a back-to-back against the Ottawa Senators and Buffalo Sabres, you would think that there was a good chance for them to get a couple of victories in the win column.

Guess again.

If getting outshot 16-6 in the first period wasn’t enough, allowing 12 while putting up six in the second wasn’t any better. Fortunately, Frederik Andersen was giving the team a chance as they trailed just 2-1 in the third period.

It didn’t take long for the Leafs to tie the game up with Zach Hyman scoring his 18th goal of the season to tie the game. What would come after could only be described in one word…inexcusable.

After a very suspect tripping call to Jake Muzzin gave Buffalo another power play and Jack Eichel would get on the board. From there you could tell the Leafs were rattled with how the game was unfolding.

Not long after, Alexander Kerfoot failed to keep the puck in the zone and allowed Kyle Okposo to skate by him who then undressed Rasmus Sandin to score his 500th career goal. It was like the Leafs wanted to do something nice for Okposo who has just six goals this season.

It didn’t get any better as Hyman attempted to clear the puck up the middle only to have it intercepted and end up in the back of the net. Just to give you an idea of how rare it was for the Sabres to do what they did in the third, the team announced that the last time Buffalo scored three goals in 1:31 was back in 1998!

After the game, you can tell Leafs Nation was fed up considering this was a game that should not have turned out that way especially when points in the standings can’t be thrown away like that.

In today’s NHL there aren’t many gimme games but a chance to go six points clear of a team that has games in hand would have provided a small bit of relief for Toronto. Instead, they go into a really tough stretch needing to pick themselves up and decide whether they actually gave an honest effort.

If they think they did, then clearly the team needs a reality check because for the past two games Leafs fans have outnumbered the home fans and the energy alone from the crowd should’ve inspired the team. Instead, Eichel decided to taunt Leafs fans with a clever sit-down celebration.

Whether there is fatigue from playing three games in four days or Buffalo getting the jump on them, it won’t get any easier with two games against the Pittsburgh Penguins this week while Florida goes on their California road trip.

This could easily be a stretch where the Leafs lose their advantage in the standings or they learn their lesson. Only time will tell.

What are your thoughts on the loss? What does the team need to do to get back on track? Let us know in the comments below.