NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, November 26th (All times eastern)
Toronto Maple Leafs (8-9-3) at Buffalo Sabres (8-12-3), 7:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The season series between the Sabres and Maple Leafs has been tilted heavily in Buffalo's favor the past few seasons, but Toronto may be catching the club at the right time.
Toronto shoots for a fourth victory in five games overall and will also try to halt a five-game slide at Buffalo in tonight's meeting at HSBC Arena.
The Maple Leafs have picked up three victories in four games since an 0-6-2 stretch and are coming off a solid 4-1 victory over the Stars on Monday. Toronto's line of Nikolai Kulemin, Mikhail Grabovski and Clarke MacArthur combined for five points, with Kulemin scoring twice and Grabovski adding two assists.
MacArthur leads Toronto with 18 points and is tied with Grabovski for the team lead with 11 assists. Kulemin upped his goal total to seven.
"Grabo and Kulie are friends and they've been here and played a lot together," Toronto head coach Ron Wilson said. "I think Clarke MacArthur views this as a real good opportunity to play with two guys like that who pay attention and think the game and sit together on the bench and plot things out and then they go out and execute it."
Tyler Bozak also scored and Jonas Gustavsson, making his third straight start with Jean-Sebastien Giguere out with a groin injury, made 21 saves.
With Giguere still a week or so away from returning, Gustavsson should get the start tonight and is 0-1-2 with a 2.85 goals-against average against Buffalo, which has won 12 of the past 14 meetings between the teams.
The Maple Leafs halted a 10-game slide to the Sabres on April 1 in the final meeting between the clubs last year, but fell right back into the loss column in this series with a 3-2 shootout setback at home to Buffalo on Nov. 6.
Tyler Ennis had the game-winning shootout goal for the Sabres, while Grabovski and Kulemin scored for Toronto in regulation.
Toronto has lost six straight on the road this season as well as each of its last five trips to western New York, where it hasn't won since Dec. 12, 2008.
Jhonas Enroth was forced to start the last meeting between these clubs for Buffalo as Ryan Miller was out with a lower-body injury. That ailment caused Miller to miss six straight games and he returned to action on Nov. 13 and played in four consecutive contests, but has missed the last two with a groin injury.
Enroth, who stopped 23 shots for his first NHL victory in the meeting earlier with the Maple Leafs, got the start in place of Miller on Wednesday and made 28 saves in a 1-0 loss to Pittsburgh. The Penguins' Pascal Dupuis got the game's lone goal on a deflection.
"It was a deflected puck, and obviously, he caught me off-guard there," said Enroth. "I think I screwed up when I tried to play the puck instead of looking at the shooter."
Miller was able to practice on Thursday and Enroth was returned to Portland of the American Hockey League, so either Miller or Patrick Lalime will get the start tonight.
Buffalo was also without Tim Connolly because of a groin ailment, while leading scorer Derek Roy missed time during the game with an elbow injury and vision problems. His status for this game is unknown and Roy leads Buffalo with nine goals, 14 assists and 23 points.
Thomas Vanek had a career-high run of points in seven straight games end as the Sabres lost for the third time in four games and fell to 1-2 on a four- game homestand.
11/26 10:49:12 ET