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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, January 15th (All times Eastern)
Buffalo Sabres (13-27-5) at Toronto Maple Leafs (23-20-5), 7:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Toronto Maple Leafs and Buffalo Sabres meet for the fifth and final time this regular season on Wednesday night when the Atlantic Division clubs clash at Air Canada Centre.
The Leafs and Sabres have split the four previous meetings, with each club winning twice at home. The previous two encounters have both gone past regulation, with Buffalo recording an overtime victory on Nov. 29 nearly a month prior to Toronto's 4-3 shootout triumph on Dec 27.
Overall, the teams have split their past 20 meetings, with the Maple Leafs winning three in a row and nine of the last 11 played in Toronto.
The Leafs are looking for a third straight victory tonight after holding off the Boston Bruins 4-3 on Tuesday. Tyler Bozak scored twice and added an assist, while Jonathan Bernier made 14 of his 38 saves in the third period.
James van Riemsdyk had a goal and an assist, Jake Gardiner scored and Phil Kessel tallied three helpers as Toronto has won back-to-back contests following a four-game slide.
"Well we've been giving a better effort that's for sure," said Toronto head coach Randy Carlyle. "We've raised our compete level and we're going to have to continue to do that to get points. That's the most frustrating part for our hockey club has been that we haven't been able to achieve that with any consistency. That's frustrating for the coaching staff, that's for sure."
Carlyle is likely to give James Reimer the start in net tonight. He is 1-0-1 against the Sabres this season, allowing five goals on 64 shots faced, and is 6-2-2 against them lifetime with a 3.27 goals against average.
Kessel, van Riemsdyk and Nikolai Kulemin have all scored twice against the Sabres this season.
Buffalo heads out on the road for a game after having an eight-game home point streak snapped last night in a 4-3 setback to the Philadelphia Flyers. The Sabres are just 4-14-2 on the road compared to 9-13-3 at home, but return to Buffalo for three in a row starting on Saturday.
Tied at 1-1 going into the third period on Tuesday, the Sabres and Flyers engaged in a back-and-forth frame that featured five goals in total. The last went to Philadelphia as Vincent Lecavalier scored with 14.8 seconds left in regulation.
Cody Hodgson, Matt D'Agostini and Tyler Ennis tallied for the Sabres, who had been 6-0-2 in their previous eight at home and lost for the fourth time in the last six games overall.
Steve Ott chipped in two assists in defeat, while backup Jhonas Enroth stopped 29 shots.
It marked the first time that the Sabres scored more than two goals in a game the Enroth had started since Nov. 2 and he fell to 1-9-4 with a 2.57 GAA and .913 save percentage this season.
"He's been our best player when he's played. We just haven't gotten him the goals," said D'Agostini.
Ryan Miller should get the start in net tonight for Buffalo and is 2-0-1 with a 1.95 GAA in three games against Toronto this season.
Defenseman Tyler Myers is eligible to return to the Sabres' lineup after serving a three-game suspension for a hit to the head of New Jersey's Dainius Zubrus on Jan. 4.
Myers has four assists in four games versus the Leafs this season, while Matt Moulson has tallied a pair of goals and two assists.
01/15 10:31:53 ET
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