Tuesday night in Toronto marked the debut for Owen Power, following pretty successful season playing for the University of Michigan.
His debut couldn’t have come at a better time as he would be playing in his hometown at the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto.
Power had his “Welcome to the NHL” moment early in this game, and fortunately for the young defenceman he would put a stop to a Auston Matthews and Mark Giordano two-on-one in one of his first shifts on the ice.
The Mississauga native grew up playing in rinks around the GTA, including the Maple Leafs practice facility in Etobicoke where his mother has worked in the past.
There would be plenty of Sabres support on the night as the highly rated prospect would join a young team on an upwards trajectory, including Rasmus Dahlin, another former first overall pick in 2018.
Buffalo would open the scoring just seven and a half minutes in after Morgan Rielly would take the Leafs second penalty of the period.
Kyle Okposo would pick up a cross-seam pass from Dahlin as he would snipe a quick shot right over the shoulder of Erik Kallgren for his 18th of the season.
Kallgren would make back to back starts for the first time since the end of March, after he had a superb game Saturday night in a 3-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens.
Buffalo would take their lead into the intermission, but that lead wouldn’t last long to open the second.
Timothy Liljegren would knot the game at one as he would bang home a loose puck off of veteran goaltender Craig Anderson, just a little over two minutes into the second, for his 4th goal of the season.
Whether it be a lack of discipline or a lack of effort it seemed like it wasn’t going to be a night to remember for the Maple Leafs as they would take another penalty just a little before midway through the second and the Sabres would make the typically steady Leaf PK pay for it.
Buffalo native Alex Tuch would continue to have a massive affect since his trade to the Sabres as he would connect with leading scorer Tage Thompson on the Power Play as Thompson netted his team leading 33rd goal on the season.
Heading into the third period the game was still in reach for the Leafs to salvage something from this game but Buffalo would keep the pressure and their hard work would pay off as they would end up extending their lead to 4-1 just under 6 minutes into the final frame.
Jeff Skinner continues his bounce back season as he fired home his 31st goal of the year, and just over a minute later Rasmus Dahlin would hit a career high 10 goals after a broken play in the Leaf zone would leave the Swede with a wide open net.
It looked like the Leafs were going to start mounting a 3 goal deficit comeback of their own after Alexander Kerfoot would sneak a deflected shot just over the goal line, it would be the closest the Leafs would come to getting back into the contest.
Buffalo would tack on an empty netter and take a 5-2 win over the Leafs, which now includes three straight wins against them spanning back to a 5-1 loss March 3rd.
The Sabres will be looking to build on this performance after stuttering for the past few games, in what has become a relatively successful past few weeks when they head home to take on the red hot St. Louis Blues.
Toronto will be looking to have a bounce back performance on Thursday when they take on the Washington Capitals at home, and seeing as it is my birthday and I am going to be gathered watching this game with friends you can almost book a fat L on this game too.