Sabres Maple Leafs Ignite New Rivalry


Jack Eichel told the world about the disdain his Buffalo Sabres and the Toronto Maple Leafs have for each other.

“It’s part of the rivalry,” the Sabres captain said. “We don’t like them. They don’t like us.”

Eichel said recently his feelings haven’t changed since he spoke in September 2017. What has is that the Sabres are enjoying far more success. The Maple Leafs have been trending in that direction for a couple of seasons now

To add to Eichel’s point, the Sabres and Maple Leafs are among the top five in the NHL standings, adding spice to a rivalry that always had teeth because of geography. Buffalo and Toronto are separated by a 100-mile drive, the Canada-United States border and two rabid fan bases thirsting for any kind of playoff success.

The Sabres have not reached the Stanley Cup Playoffs since 2011, last won a playoff series in 2007 and never have won the Stanley Cup. The Maple Leafs last won a playoff series in 2004, and haven’t won the Stanley Cup since 1967, despite some recent success and great players flowing through the organization. Given this information, it’s easy to understand why they have not met in a postseason series since the 1999 Eastern Conference Final.

 A potential Sabres-Maple Leafs playoff series has been a hot topic in each city. If the season ended today, the Maple Leafs, second in the Atlantic Division, and the third-place Sabres, would meet in the Eastern Conference First Round playoff matchup.

With the Maple Leafs gunning for a playoff spot and thousands of Toronto fans shoehorned into KeyBank Center, Eichel scored his second goal in what would be a 5-2 Sabres victory. As part of his gleeful celebration, he slammed the glass with his glove, knowing there was a Maple Leafs supporter in a blue-and-white Toronto jersey sitting on the other side of the pane.

For Buffalo and Toronto, there are plenty of reasons to be charged up, not the least of which is the fact that his close friend Auston Matthews is coming to town.

The rivalry is just getting started and we are all here for it.