NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Monday, November 30th
(All times eastern)
Buffalo Sabres (14-7-2) at Toronto Maple Leafs (6-11-7), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Toronto Maple Leafs will try to post their longest
winning streak of the season when they host the rival Buffalo Sabres in
tonight's Northeast Division clash at Air Canada Centre.
Both the Maple Leafs and Sabres are coming off back-to-back victories, but
Toronto is trying to win three in a row for the first time since a four-game
winning streak from February 22-28 of last season.
Toronto, which has also won three of its last four tests, is coming off
Friday's comeback victory in Florida. Niklas Hagman tallied twice, including
the go-ahead score late in the third period, as Toronto downed the Panthers,
6-4, at BankAtlantic Center. The Leafs fell behind 4-3 early in the third
period, but scored three unanswered goals to skate away with the victory.
Phil Kessel also scored a pair of goals for the Maple Leafs, who have recorded
at least one point in five straight contests (3-0-2). Kessel, meanwhile, has
eight goals and 11 points in 12 games since making his season debut earlier
this month following offseason shoulder surgery.
Alexei Ponikarovsky posted a goal and three assists, Matt Stajan also lit the
lamp and Jonas Gustavsson got the win despite allowing four goals on 30 shots.
"Maybe the worm is finally turning for us," Toronto coach Ron Wilson said.
"We've been out-shooting everybody and we've got a couple of really confident
guys in Kessel and Hagman, who have just found a way to get (the puck) in the
Toronto is home for one game before heading out on a three-game road trip,
which is set to begin Tuesday in Montreal. The last-place Leafs are just 2-6-3
as the host this year and have lost three of their last four tilts on home
The Sabres are fresh off back-to-back wins this weekend, as they downed
Philadelphia and Carolina, respectively. Buffalo defeated the Flyers, 4-2, in
a road test on Friday and recorded a 5-1 decision over the visiting Hurricanes
the following night at HSBC Arena.
The consecutive victories come on the heels of Buffalo's season-worst four-
game losing streak.
Clarke MacArthur scored the eventual game-winning goal in the third, as
Buffalo scored five times in the final period to record the win over lowly
Derek Roy, Thomas Vanek and Jochen Hecht each had a goal and an assist for the
Sabres. Mike Grier also scored, while Ryan Miller made 30 saves to move to
14-4-2 this season.
Sabres forward Patrick Kaleta served the first portion of a two-game
suspension on Saturday. Kaleta, who has three goals and three assists this
year, was handed the punishment for boarding Philadelphia's Jared Ross on
Friday. He will be eligible to return in Thursday's home test against
Buffalo was also without center Paul Gaustad (knee) and defenseman Craig Rivet
(knee/ankle) on Saturday and both players are out indefinitely.
The Sabres are 6-4-0 as the visiting club this year and snapped a two-game
road slide in Friday's win over the Flyers. Buffalo will begin a five-game
homestand Thursday against the Canadiens.
Buffalo recorded a 3-2 overtime win when it hosted the Maple Leafs on October
30. The Sabres have taken six straight and seven of the last eight overall
meetings and Toronto has lost six in a row and 10 out of 12 at home in the
11/30 10:48:07 ET