The Maple Leafs were on the wrong side of a 6-4 loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Friday afternoon. This was the seventh and last game of a very long road trip.

Hutchinson Continues To Disappoint

The Jekyll and Hyde situation between the pipes for the Leafs continued on Friday. After three strong outings by Andersen this week, Hutchinson returned in net and allowed 6 goals on 36 shots he faced. His record is now a disappointing 0-5-1.

Even with a two goal lead, Hutchinson failed to perform when the Maple Leafs needed him the most. Hutchinson let his team down with a dismal performance in the second period, where the Sabres scored four unanswered goals. Even after Timashov scored and pulled the Leafs back within one, Hutchinson was not able to keep them in the game, as Vesey scored for the Sabres just two minutes later.

The Leafs need to look elsewhere for another backup goalie. Whether they call someone up from the Marlies or make a trade, one thing is for certain and that’s Hutchinson needs to be replaced.

Rookie Phenom In The Shadows

Once again Ilya Mikheyev had a strong showing on Friday afternoon. Mikheyev set-up the opening goal with a great heads up play and nicely timed pass to Tavares. In the absence of Marner, Keefe paired Mikheyev with Tavares and Hyman which worked out beautifully. This is the second straight game where Mikheyev has recorded a point and in his past six games he has an outstanding plus/minus of 6.

Mikheyev continues to improve as the season moves forward. It may be a long shot for him winning rookie of the year, but it’s still very possible.

Still On Track 

Despite the loss, this was still a positive outing for the Leafs. Tavares scored twice and Spezza continued his hot play as he recorded another assist to extend his point streak to three games. The Leafs suffered their first loss under Sheldon Keefe, but they’ve been reborn through his presence.

The Leafs will return home to face the Sabres on Saturday night, which will be Sheldon Keefe’s first game behind the bench at the Scotiabank Arena.