NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Wednesday, February 16th
(All times eastern)
Toronto Maple Leafs (24-27-6) at Buffalo Sabres (27-22-6), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Buffalo Sabres will try to begin their longest
homestand of the season with a victory when they host the Toronto Maple Leafs
in tonight's Northeast Division clash at HSBC Arena.
The Sabres are just 12-12-2 on home ice this season, but they will get a
chance to improve upon that record during the six-game residency that begins
Buffalo is also trying to keep pace in the battle for the last playoff spot in
the East. With 60 points, the Sabres are tied with Atlanta for the
conference's ninth seed and the clubs are just two points behind Carolina for
the East's final postseason berth.
Toronto, meanwhile, is six points behind Buffalo in both the division and
conference standings, but the Sabres have taken all three meetings between the
clubs this season. Buffalo has won 13 out of 14 overall in the series and the
Maple Leafs have dropped seven straight and 10 of their last 13 games in
western New York.
The Sabres are coming off a victory as they recorded a dramatic shootout win
in Montreal last night. Jochen Hecht scored the winner in the 10th round of
the shootout to help Buffalo take the 3-2 decision at Bell Centre.
After each side scored in the fifth round, the goaltenders stopped the next
nine shooters before Hecht banged a wrist shot in off the right post for the
Drew Stafford and Jason Pominville each had a goal for the Sabres, who have
won four of their last five games (4-0-1). Jhonas Enroth stopped 32 shots in
"I'm really pretty good in shootouts," said Enroth. "This one was a 10-round
shootout, but I stayed focused and tried to keep stopping them. This was a fun
game to play here in Montreal."
The Sabres are expected to go back to No. 1 goaltender Ryan Miller in
tonight's game. Miller started in 31 straight games before getting a rare rest
on Tuesday. Last year's Vezina Trophy winner will try to shake off a poor
performance in his last outing, as he surrendered seven goals on 26 shots in
Sunday's 7-6 overtime loss to the New York Islanders.
Buffalo hopes to get defenseman Steve Montador back tonight from a concussion.
Montador has been out since suffering the head injury in his club's 6-2 win
over Toronto on Feb. 5. He is questionable for this evening's tilt.
Like the Sabres, Toronto is also coming off a win over a divisional opponent.
Mikhail Grabovski's second goal of the game came with 1:01 to play to help
lift the Maple Leafs to a 4-3 win over Boston last night at TD Garden.
Former Bruin Phil Kessel also had two goals while James Reimer stopped 32
shots for the Maple Leafs, who halted a two-game slide. Dion Phaneuf and
Joffrey Lupul each had two helpers in the win.
"That was without a doubt Phil's best game and not just because he scored,"
Toronto head coach Ron Wilson said. "He was in on the forecheck; he was in
banging around with (Zdeno) Chara and he did a good job in our end, too."
The Leafs are just 11-16-1 as the visiting team this season and are capping a
three-game road trip tonight.
02/16 10:41:35 ET