It's only two games in, and already Phil Kessel is sounding like a frustrated sniper.
"I'm still a little rusty," said Kessel. "I had some chances. You've got to bury them. Just didn't do it tonight. Disappointed in that."
Kessel, the team's leading scorer last year, had seven shots and came up empty for the second game in a row.
The effort was there — Kessel was the Leafs' best player — but Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller was at his Leaf-killing best in Monday's 2-1 win in Toronto's home opener at the Air Canada Centre. Miller has more wins against the Leafs (28) than any other team.
So far, the Leafs have managed three goals. Nazem Kadri, who scored with 1:42 left in the third to break Miller's shutout bid, has two.
Kessel, a streaky scorer who had 37 last year, and Joffrey Lupul, who had 25, haven't scored yet. After two games last year, Kessel had three goals and two assists, Lupul one goal and three assists.
"It's never encouraging when you lose," said Kessel. "We don't want to lose any games. We didn't get it done."
The lack of offence from his top players, especially on the power play on Monday, has not gone unnoticed by coach Randy Carlyle.
"You get offensive minutes and you get the opportunity on the 5-on-3, you have to execute," said Carlyle. "That's the reality of it. You have to have your best players providing you the offence that's required in these games, in those situations."
The Leafs scored twice on the power play in Montreal, winning the season opener 2-1. But against Buffalo, the Leafs went 1-for-7, the one goal coming late. In the first period, the Leafs had an elongated 5-on-3 back to back with a two-minute 5-on-4. They managed nine shots in a row on Miller, but came up empty.
Maple Leafs lose home opener to Buffalo Sabres
Toronto Star | Jan 22