NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, February 5th
(All times eastern)
Toronto Maple Leafs (21-25-5) at Buffalo Sabres (23-22-5), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Toronto Maple Leafs will shoot for a third straight
victory when they visit the Buffalo Sabres for tonight's Northeast Division
clash at HSBC Arena.
Toronto lost three in a row heading into the All-Star break, but have emerged
from the hiatus with consecutive wins.
The Maple Leafs will need a strong finish to avoid missing the playoffs for a
sixth straight season. With 47 points, Toronto is currently 12th in the
conference and 10 points out of the East's final postseason seed.
The Sabres, who lost to Pittsburgh in regulation on Friday, are four points
ahead of Toronto in both the Northeast and conference standings.
Toronto has not fared well against the Sabres in recent years, as Buffalo has
won both meetings this season and has now taken 12 of the last 13 encounters
between the clubs. The Leafs have also dropped six in a row and nine out of 12
in western New York.
Toronto is coming off Thursday's shutout win over the visiting Carolina
Hurricanes. Rookie backstop James Reimer stopped 27 shots to record his first
career shutout in the 3-0 win over the Hurricanes at Air Canada Centre.
Reimer was playing in just his ninth career game for the Maple Leafs, who have
won back-to-back games for the first time since a four-game winning streak
from January 6-11.
Reimer is scheduled to get the start again tonight, while second-year
goaltender Jonas Gustavsson has been loaned to the Toronto Marlies of the AHL
for a conditioning stint. Reimer has never faced the Sabres in his brief NHL
Clarke MacArthur, Darryl Boyce and Kris Versteeg each lit the lamp for Toronto
on Thursday. Boyce is questionable for tonight's tilt after suffering a facial
injury against Carolina.
Toronto has a poor 9-14-1 record on the road this season and has lost four
straight away from Air Canada Centre. The Leafs' last road victory came Jan.
11 in San Jose.
Buffalo played its first game after the All-Star break on Friday and had a
two-game win streak halted by the Penguins. The Sabres dropped a 3-2 decision
in Pittsburgh despite taking a 2-0 lead in the first period, but the Pens
scored three times in the second period to earn the win at CONSOL Energy
Paul Gaustad and Mike Grier tallied for the Sabres, while Ryan Miller allowed
three goals on 39 shots in defeat.
"We came out strong and started the game off right," said Buffalo defenseman
Tyler Myers. "But we let them off the hook in the second and third and it cost
Buffalo is home for just one game before heading to Florida for its next two
games against the Lightning and Panthers. The Sabres are 11-12-1 as the home
club this season.
02/05 10:48:51 ET