The Sabres Report - January 18, 2017

Lehner fails to build on run, gets pulled in Sabres' loss   

Buffalo News:

‘As the Sabres’ No. 1 goaltender, Lehner will soon get another chance to finish a game. It wasn’t going to happen against the Maple Leafs, who scored three times in the opening 9:45 of the second period to ruin the night of Lehner and the Sabres.’

Mike Harrington: Sabres getting left in dust by Leafs' rebuild   

Buffalo News:

‘The Leafs have a coach who’s going to the Hall of Fame, and a general manager and president who are already there. The Sabres have a coach with a Stanley Cup on his resume who’s clearly causing fans and his own players to gnash their teeth far too much, a first-time GM and a club president who’s about the most reviled figure in town these days.’

Sabres Notebook: Okposo gets back on the scoreboard   

Buffalo News:

‘“We’re skating, we’re working,” said Okposo, who was selected for the NHL All-Star Game and leads the Sabres with 13 goals. “We’ve just got to find a way to string a few together. It’s just up and down. Win one, lose one. Win two, lose two. And we’ve just got to find a way to use that speed and play full 60s.”’

Quick hits: Maple Leafs 4, Sabres 3   

Buffalo News:

‘The Maple Leafs entered the game 0-8-1 when trailing after one period.’

Sabres goalie Robin Lehner pulled in loss to Maple Leafs   

Olean Times Herald:

The Sabres have a lot of demoralizing losses this trying season. Tuesday’s might rank at the top of the list.’

Maple Leafs have improved faster than Sabres   

Olean Times Herald:

‘“We were going through a stretch where we were winning games and people were saying we were going to be another lottery (team),” Matthews said Tuesday. “Now we’re a playoff team. There’s obviously ups and downs.”’

Lehner pulled after three-goal second period, Sabres fall 4-3 in Toronto   

Batavia Daily News:

‘Lehner (13 saves) was pulled after the third goal and was noticeably upset about the decision from Buffalo head coach Dan Bylsma.’

Auston Matthews-Jack Eichel rivalry more marketable than other well-known battles   

Toronto Sun:

‘On the other hand, not only do Matthews’ Leafs and Eichel’s Sabres both belong to the same conference, they are members of the same division — the Atlantic. As such, along with five regular season clashes during each campaign, there always remains the potential of playoff showdowns in the event both teams qualify.’

Leafs-Sabres rivalry cranks up heat   

Toronto Star:

‘“You can hear the excitement across the border,” said Bylsma. “The Leafs have had some success. They’ve won some hockey games. They’ve put themselves at the top of a group of people in the 48-point range. It’s not a surprise to see five, six teams in that area, all fighting for points and position.”’

Jack Eichel’s hunger for greatness could lend itself well to leadership   

Toronto Globe and Mail:

‘“He’s so hard to knock off the puck. He’s got that deceptive stride. It’s incredible,” said Matthews, who came to be close friends with Eichel when they played together in the USA Hockey development program. “That’s something you’ve got to watch out for. He takes one step and he’s three steps by you.”’

Lehner’s outburst sums up Sabres’ inability to string together wins   

Sportsnet:

‘The third goal certainly wasn’t Lehner’s fault. Three Sabres, including an outplayed Jack Eichel, went behind their own net in attempt to retrieve a puck that, like so many, was passed by Zach Hyman to Auston Matthews in the slot. Insta-release, bar down, Leafs lead 3-2, and the rookie hops over injured Patrik Laine for the lead in rookie goals with his 22nd.’

Wednesday's Toronto Coverage   

SabreSpace.com:

Rielly injured in Leafs close win over Sabres (Toronto Sun)
Auston Matthews-Jack Eichel rivalry more marketable than other well-known battles (Toronto Sun)
Former Maple Leafs assistant coach Ron Smith had many talents (Toronto Sun)
Maple Leafs hope Morgan Rielly injury isn’t too serious (Toronto Sun)
Leafs beat Sabres but lose Rielly (Toronto Star)
Leafs-Sabres rivalry cranks up heat (Toronto Star)
Morgan Rielly and young Maple Leafs feel positive vibes (Toronto Star)
Leafs beat Sabres, but Rielly leaves game with injury (Toronto Globe and Mail)
Jack Eichel’s hunger for greatness could lend itself well to leadership (Toronto Globe and Mail)
Morgan Rielly leaves Maple Leafs game against Sabres with injury (CP)
Leafs lose D Rielly to injury (The Sports Xchange)
Leafs play through loss of Rielly to beat Sabres (TSN)
What a possible Morgan Rielly injury could mean for Maple Leafs (Sportsnet)
Lehner’s outburst sums up Sabres’ inability to string together wins (Sportsnet)
Maple Leafs’ rebuild outpacing that of rival Sabres (SI)
Five Takeaways – Leafs vs. Sabres – 01/17/17 (MapleLeafs.com)
Photo gallery (NHL.com)

Leafs' keep rolling with win over Sabres; Rielly forced to exit with injury   

CP:

‘”He should be upset with getting pulled and that’s part of Robin’s game, that emotion,” Bylsma said. “I have no problem with that.”‘

Leafs edge Sabres for third consecutive win   

The Sports Xchange:

‘”We’ve just got to find a way to string a few (victories) together,” Okposo said. “It’s up and down: win one, lose one; win two, lose two — we’ve just got to find a way to use that speed and play a full 60 (minutes).”‘

Matthews, Leafs Overpower Sabres 4-3   

WGR-AM:

‘The Leafs erupted with 3 goals in the first 9:45 of the 2nd period, prompting Dan Bylsma to replace Robin Lehner with Anders Nilsson in net. Leo Komarov was credited with Toronto’s first goal, Matt Martin tied it on a weak odd-angle shot and Auston Matthews put the Leafs ahead 1:17 later with his 22nd.’