It was all over Jonas Gustavsson's face after yet another game in which he got hardly any support from his teammates, a 3-1 loss to the Sabres in which Toronto went 0-for-6 on the power play and took a couple devastating, dumb penalties early in the first period.
The Leafs netminder put a brave face on the latest defeat, saying he felt he did what he could to keep it close.
"First goal, I think it touched the D in front of me otherwise I would have had it right here," he said, pointing to his chest. "Second goal, I saw it too late. Komo made himself big, but they got a good shot there. The rest of the period I just tried to battle and help the team. I felt all right."
He certainly helped his team, keeping the game far closer than it deserved to be after Buffalo out shot Toronto 16-5 in the first 20 minutes.
Coach Ron Wilson said the two team's power plays were the difference in the game, as the Sabres found a way to score twice quickly and the Leafs had few decent chances despite plenty of man advantages.
"Both their [power play]goals were screened," Wilson said. "Two things: Their point men got shots through and they had traffic in front. And that's something that we have to do better."
The Leafs' lack of offence with Gustavsson in goal continues a trend, one which has seen him post a 3-0-1 record when his team scores more than one goal, something Toronto has failed to do in five of his nine starts. The Leafs have scored only three goals in Gustavsson's five regulation losses this season.
Despite the fact he has a .919 save percentage, well above league average, Gustavsson has only a 3-5-1 record.
"Our power play wasn't really very good," Wilson said. "We weren't getting the secondary kind of chances with traffic in front that would give [Ryan Miller]some difficulty."
"Everyone knows what they have to do out there and I mean we got to execute," winger Clarke MacArthur said. "I don't know what we had six or seven [power plays] I mean, that's not going to win you any games [when you don't score]"
A lack of discipline
Other than a lack of offence, which will continue to be a running theme this season for Toronto, a surprising lack of composure really killed the Leafs' chances in the early going.
Kris Versteeg admitted after the game that his elbowing penalty on Nathan Gerbe, which gave Buffalo a 5-on-3 advantage 16 seconds after Jordan Leopold made the score 1-0, was a bad one to take.
"Obviously the refs made the right call," Versteeg said. "This was a game where stuff was happening, you're trying to make a statement and obviously it wasn't the best penalty. But I guess it's going to happen sometime when it's such an emotional game. When stuff happens out there, sometimes you react to it."
That "stuff" was Luke Schenn's early fight and then Colton Orr's ill-advised attack on Paul Gaustad that led to a triple minor for roughing, perhaps the rarest penalty call of all.
"We did take some bad penalties there in the emotion of the moment and they kind of put us away right there," Wilson said. "I've never seen a guy get six minutes for roughing before, but he did and we didn't get the job done killing penalties.
"Steeger got slashed on the faceoff and then he just lost his composure and took a bad penalty and that pretty much killed us."
Miller sees the puck
MacArthur, who began his career in Buffalo and has seen Miller put in plenty of sterling performances, wasn't surprised by this one.
"That's how he always plays, seems like," he said. "I mean if you don't get traffic and you don't get in tight, it's tough to beat him. We had a lot of perimeter shots and that's not going to cut it."
MacArthur said the Leafs didn't come out motivated enough.
"It shouldn't have been a problem tonight and we came out flat," he said. "These are huge games right now, whether guys think it or not, they are. Especially the in division games, we've got to find a way to win games and win games on the road."Report Typo/Error