NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Friday, January 13th
(All times Eastern)
Toronto Maple Leafs (22-15-5) at Buffalo Sabres (18-19-5), 7:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Toronto Maple Leafs will try to sweep a home-and-home
series with the Sabres and also extend their longest win streak of the season
when they visit Buffalo's First Niagara Center for tonight's Northeast
After ending December on an 0-2-1 slide, the Maple Leafs have posted four
straight victories to begin 2012. The current run has featured a pair of
shutouts, including a 2-0 win over the visiting Sabres on Tuesday.
Toronto has missed the postseason in each of the previous six seasons, but is
currently sitting seventh out of eight playoff seeds in the Eastern
The Maple Leafs have won two of three against the Sabres this year and have
also taken five of six overall in this series. However, Toronto has been
defeated in eight of the last nine encounters in Buffalo and the Sabres
recorded a 5-4 home win over the Leafs on Dec. 16.
Jonas Gustavsson has started all four games during Toronto's current hot
streak and he stopped all 32 shots fired his way to post his third career
shutout in Tuesday's victory over the visiting Sabres.
James Reimer entered the season as the team's No. 1 goaltender, but Gustavsson
has forced Toronto head coach Ron Wilson to alter that dynamic recently.
"He's been healthy the whole season and naturally his confidence has grown,"
Wilson said of Gustavsson after Tuesday's win. "He had a great November,
didn't play much in December, but he's come in this month and done very well.
He's confident and making key saves when we need him."
With the Maple Leafs playing tonight and again on Saturday against the New
York Rangers, Reimer could get a start this weekend, but Gustavsson is
expected to get the call again tonight.
Nikolai Kulemin finished with a goal and an assist in Tuesday's win, while
Mikhail Grabovski also lit the lamp for the Maple Leafs.
The Sabres, meanwhile, have lost three straight, six of seven and nine of
their last 11 games. Buffalo is currently 11th in the East and is eight points
behind Toronto in the standings.
Ryan Miller was tagged with both goals on 28 shots in Toronto's recent defeat
of the Sabres. The former Vezina Trophy winner is having a down year with a
10-12-2 record and a 3.01 goals-against average, but Miller is still 25-13-0
with a 2.35 GAA in 38 career outings against the Leafs.
Buffalo was shut out for just the second time this season in Tuesday's
Sabres forward Thomas Vanek, who leads Buffalo with 19 goals and is second on
the club with 40 points, left Tuesday's tilt with an illness and is
questionable for tonight.
Toronto is 10-10-1 as the visiting team this year, while Buffalo is 10-9-5 on
01/13 10:50:32 ET