NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, January 10th (All times Eastern)
Buffalo Sabres (18-18-5) at Toronto Maple Leafs (21-15-5), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Toronto Maple Leafs will try to extend their winning streak to a season-high four games when they host the struggling Buffalo Sabres tonight at Air Canada Centre in the opener of a home-and-home.
After ending December on an 0-2-1 slide, the Maple Leafs have opened 2012 with three consecutive victories to match their longest winning streak of the season. Toronto hasn't strung together four straight victories since Jan. 6-11 of last season.
The Leafs, who have scored 15 goals over the current winning streak, notched a 4-3 victory Saturday against visiting Detroit. Joffrey Lupul scored the go- ahead goal seven minutes into the third period and Jonas Gustavsson finished with 37 saves to help Toronto hold on for the win.
"They had 16 shots and maybe three quality scoring chances. I thought we did a pretty good job of keeping them on the outside," Leafs head coach Ron Wilson said. "They had some obviously scary moments; that one chance with about 40 seconds to go made my heart stop. But the monster (Gustavsson) came up big."
Phil Kessel scored on a penalty shot to extend his point streak to eight games. Dion Phaneuf tallied during a power play and David Steckel also lit the lamp for Toronto, which is 11-5-4 as the host this year and is wrapping up a four-game homestand tonight.
Gustavsson has started all three games of the winning streak and Wilson will likely go with the hot hand again tonight.
The Sabres, meanwhile, have lost two straight, five of six and eight of their last 10 games. Buffalo, which will host Toronto in the finale of this home- and-home on Friday, is currently fourth in the Northeast Division and six points in back of the third-place Leafs.
Buffalo last played on Saturday, when it was dealt an overtime loss by the visiting Winnipeg Jets. Johnny Oduya scored 57 seconds into the extra session to lift Winnipeg to the 2-1 decision.
Tyler Myers scored for the Sabres, who fell to 2-6-2 in their last 10 games. Jhonas Enroth stopped 39 shots in the hard-luck loss.
"It was a tough game for us," said Enroth. "We really wanted to win this game but we just need to battle back here and make a push to the playoffs."
Myers had missed 19 games with a broken wrist before returning for Friday's loss at Carolina. Sabres forward Ville Leino also returned to action Saturday after missing the previous 10 games with a broken bone in his foot.
The Sabres enter tonight with an 8-9-0 road record this season and they have lost six straight as the guest.
Buffalo and the Leafs have split a pair of meetings this season, with each club winning on home ice. The Sabres have taken 14 of 19 overall in this series, but they've also dropped three straight in Toronto.
01/10 10:45:37 ET