Friday’s contest at the KeyBank Center was the backend of a preseason home-and-home series with the Toronto Maple Leafs, and it did not go as planned.
The Leafs’ offense was electric as they tallied eight goals en route to an 8-1 victory.
The lone bright spot for the Sabres was Derek Grant once again. He scored on a slick backhand off the pad of Enroth, which tied the game at 1.
That was the closest the game would be as the Maple Leafs took control, but the Sabres lost more than just the game.
Dmitry Kulikov made his preseason debut and got knocked into the Toronto bench as the door opened, hitting his back on the partition. He appeared to be in a lot of pain and hobbled off to the locker room.
Scary moment as an unlocked bench door leads to what might be a lower back injury for Dmitry Kulikov pic.twitter.com/10U3xwDJeG
— Jeff Veillette (@JeffVeillette) October 1, 2016
Bylsma said that Kulikov has a bruise and is hopeful that it’s nothing more than that.
Nicholas Baptiste was also injured and had to leave the game due to a lower-back injury.
Robin Lehner was expected to get the start for Buffalo, but the team announced that he had a forearm contusion. Lehner did say that if it were a regular season game, he would have played, so it’s not serious.
Jason Kasdorf received the start in goal, but did not last long. He stopped just nine of 13 shots, giving way to John Muse.
Bylsma said that he pulled Kasdorf for mercy, not because he was playing poorly. He said they were all tips, deflections and poor play in front of him and it led to an easy decision.
Former Sabre Jhonas Enroth started in goal for Toronto and stopped eight of nine shots he faced.
“The best thing about that game is it’s over. We can throw it out and go back to building and implementing the way we want to play.” – Dan Bylsma
Defenseman Matt Hunwick scored two goals in just 12 seconds at the tail end of the opening period. Buffalo freely gave up the blue line in the first period and seemed to lack aggression in attacking in the defensive and offensive zones.
Toronto’s William Nylander opened the scoring early in the first period on a deflected shot. Peter Holland stood uncontested in front of the net and re-directed a shot in past Jason Kasdorf to make the make 2-1 in favor of Toronto.
Toronto brought in goalie Antoine Bibeau midway through the second period.
The Sabres’ next game is on Tuesday when they start a home-and-home series with the Carolina Hurricanes. Just three preseason games remain and the Sabres have a 2-2 record thus far.