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    Ristolainen appeared to say the Leafs and Sabres meet four more times this season


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    Ristolainen appeared to say the Leafs and Sabres meet four more times this season
    One day off or four days off, Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock was going to have one hockey thought in mind as he ruminated about his team’s four game skid.

    The Leafs stayed Calle Rosen Jersey away from the rink on Tuesday and when they return to practice Wednesday at the MasterCard Centre, they will still have three days to prepare for their final run to the playoffs, a 14 game span that begins Saturday at home against Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins.

    When the puck drops for that game, the Leafs will attempt to avoid losing five games in a row. The Leafs have not had a similar streak since Feb. 23 March 3 of 2017, when they went five games without registering a victory.

    “The bottom line is you have to get it turned around, you can’t continue to lose hockey games https://www.tormapleleafsfans.com/domini...-c-12.html,” Babcock said late Monday night in Buffalo before the Leafs hopped on a bus and made their way back to Toronto after collecting a mere two points on their four game road trip.

    “I want us to play at the top of our game each and every night. Even though you want that all the time, that’s not going to necessarily happen all the time.


    “You have to get back to work. We will do that. We have a little hiatus this week and we will get our guys freshened up and get ready to play a good Pittsburgh team.”

    The Leafs talked a good game Sunday in Buffalo following practice, stressing that they would put themselves back on solid ground after a lacklustre performance outdoors versus the Washington Capitals the night before. That didn’t happen in a 5 3 loss against the Sabres, never mind that the second worst team in the National Hockey League needed the benefit of four deflections for goals and got away with goalie interference on its fifth.

    In the broad view, most NHL clubs gladly would trade their points totals with the Leafs, as only five teams have more than the 85 compiled by Toronto. There’s no doubt the Leafs are in a good spot in the standings https://www.tormapleleafsfans.com/willia...-c-11.html, even if the chances are increasing they will open the 2018 Stanley Cup playoffs in Boston against the Bruins.

    Boston was three points ahead of the Leafs before it entertained the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday night, and afterward, still had four games in hand on the Leafs.

    As Babcock keeps saying, the Leafs remain a work in progress. They’re a middle of the pack team in possession, and probably more often than Babcock would like, defensive breakdowns crop up that result in scoring chances, if not goals against.

    If there is concern outside the organization, it’s that the Leafs didn’t address a need for depth on the blue line as the trade deadline came and went last week https://www.tormapleleafsfans.com/auston...-c-13.html, and some wonder whether Frederik Andersen is buckling under the weight of the pucks he sees on a game to game basis. Only three teams had allowed more on average than the 34 shots a game the Leafs give up, but Andersen, despite being scored on a total of 10 times in the past two games, did not seem concerned.

    “Besides working a little harder, you can’t do anything to change the kinds of bounces that led to Sabres goals ,” Andersen said. “You just have to keep working, keep focused on what’s next and that’s what we’re going to try to do.

    “ The four day break between games is something we have to embrace. We have to work in practice and maybe work on a few things for the stretch here before playoffs. It could be a good thing.”

    While there’s no clarity on the return of Auston Matthews from a shoulder injury, the Leafs undoubtedly would be buoyed by the fact that nine of their remaining games are at the ACC, with five on the road.

    The Leafs have won 22 of 32 games on home ice.

    “We just need to play better,” said Leo Komarov, echoing his coach. “We have been playing pretty good so far this season, but we need to be better every day.”

    KADRI RISTOLAINEN FEUD? ‘TWO GUYS WHO PLAY HARD’

    Rasmus Ristolainen didn’t speak to reporters on Monday night after his Buffalo Sabres beat the Maple Leafs, so it was only natural for media in Buffalo on Tuesday to ask the Sabres defenceman about his penalty box conversation with Nazem Kadri after the two fought in the second period.

    In the video clip that went viral, Ristolainen appeared to say the Leafs and Sabres meet four more times this season, while Kadri appeared to stress that it was three times.

    “I’m not going to tell you guys what we said, but probably you can read a little bit about what we were talking about ,” Ristolainen said. “It’s just two guys who play hard and don’t like each other.”

    Kadri and Ristolainen haven’t liked playing each other for a while, as they have had disagreements in the past.

    While these sorts of things are not always easy to predict, perhaps it would be wise to expect more fireworks between the two when the Leafs and Sabres play each other on March 15, March 26 and April 2.
    23.03.2018 03:13
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