1. Leafs follow up strong game Friday with first period lead thanks to van Riemsdyk's early goal. One night after they beat the Sabres 3-0 in Toronto, the Leafs headed down to Buffalo for a rematch - albeit, one with drastically different lineups for both teams - and the Buds once again scored the first goal of the contest. However, unlike Friday's game, which had a first period that ended without a goal being scored by either side, Saturday's showdown saw the Leafs grab a lead at the 5:25 mark of the opening period when winger James van Riemsdyk netted his second pre-season marker.
The goal sequence began with centre Tyler Bozak's slick pass to blueliner Nikita Zaitsev, who earned the secondary assist on van Riemsdyk's goal; and winger Mitch Marner got the primary assist for his second helper of the pre-season. Equally impressive was the fact Toronto prevented the Sabres from getting a shot on netminder Frederik Andersen until nearly six minutes of the first period elapsed. The Buds kept the pressure on the home team and outshot the Sabres 12-5 in the period, and dominated in both the faceoff circle (where they won 72 percent of all draws) and in giveaways (Buffalo had eight to Toronto's three).
The necessary caveat always has to be that, in non-regular-season games, coaches are always tinkering with lineups that aren't likely to resemble the ones they'll rely on once the regular season begins, so this should be seen for what it is: a work in progress. But for the second straight game, Toronto came out of the dressing room looking confident and hungry, and that's got to please head coach Mike Babcock as the Buds move toward the halfway point of the pre-season.