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NHL Preview from The Sports Network

Friday, March 3rd (All times eastern)

Toronto Maple Leafs (27-26-5) at Buffalo Sabres (36-16-5), 8 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Buffalo Sabres try to end a two-game skid tonight when they welcome the Toronto Maple Leafs to HSBC Arena.

Before the match, the Sabres will honor former captain and Hall of Famer Pat LaFontaine by retiring his No. 16. LaFontaine will become the sixth player in team history to have his number raised to the rafters, joining Gilbert Perreault (11), Rick Martin (7), Rene Robert (14), Tim Horton (2) and Danny Gare (18).

LaFontaine spent six seasons with the Sabres, from 1991-97. He tallied 385 points during his tenure with the club, including a staggering 53 goals and 95 assists in 1992-93.

The current Sabres sit second in the Northeast Division -- six behind the first-place Ottawa Senators. Buffalo is fourth in the Eastern Conference's overall race.

Lindy Ruff's club dropped a 4-2 tilt against Atlanta on Wednesday, as the Sabres saw their first action following the Olympics. Brad Larsen netted two goals to lift the Thrashers.

Chris Drury and Maxim Afinogenov netted goals and Ryan Miller allowed three goals on 24 shots for the Sabres, who have lost three of their last four games.

Buffalo will visit Boston on Saturday.

Toronto, meanwhile, has lost three straight games. On Tuesday the Leafs dropped a 5-3 tilt to visiting Washington. Matt Pettinger scored twice to lift the Capitals.

Darcy Tucker registered a goal and an assist for the Maple Leafs, while Nik Antropov and Chad Kilger also scored in the losing effort.

Goaltender Ed Belfour allowed five goals on 27 shots for Toronto, which welcomed back centerman Eric Lindros to the lineup. Lindros had missed 27 games with a wrist injury.

The Maple Leafs currently sit 11th in the East with 59 points -- five behind eighth-place Montreal in the playoff race.

Toronto will host Ottawa on Saturday.

Buffalo is 2-1 against Toronto this season.

03/03 10:22:00 ET

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