NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Friday, March 23rd
(All times eastern)
Toronto Maple Leafs (35-28-10) at Buffalo Sabres (47-19-7), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Toronto Maple Leafs will try to earn some much-needed
points tonight, when they visit the powerful Buffalo Sabres at HSBC Arena for
the opener of a home-and-home series.
The Maple Leafs come into this evening's game with 80 points and are currently
11th in the crowded Eastern Conference standings. They are trailing Carolina
and Montreal by two points for the eighth and final postseason berth in the
East and are also one point in back of the 10th-place New York Islanders.
Toronto was able to pick up a key victory Tuesday evening, as it edged the
visiting New Jersey Devils by a 2-1 score. Andrew Raycroft made 24 saves and
Mats Sundin assisted on both goals to lift the Leafs at Air Canada Centre.
Kyle Wellwood and Nik Antropov each scored for Toronto, which has won three of
its last five contests.
The Maple Leafs have lost four of its last five road contests, but are still
19-13-5 as the away team this year.
On the injury front, Toronto defenseman Tomas Kaberle is expected to return to
the ice for the first time since suffering a concussion as a result of a hit
from New Jersey's Cam Janssen on March 2. Kaberle, who has missed the last
eight games, is third on the team with 49 points (9 goals, 40 assists) this
The Sabres are coming off Wednesday's home triumph over Washington. Drew
Stafford scored a pair of goals as Buffalo reached the 100-point mark for the
second straight year with a 5-2 win over the Capitals.
Dainius Zubrus donated two assists while Ryan Miller came up with 24 saves for
the Sabres, who have won three of four and are currently the Eastern
Conference's top seed with 101 points. New Jersey is second in the East and
trails Buffalo by seven points.
Tonight's contest marks the end of a brief two-game homestand for the Sabres,
who are 24-10-3 as the host this season.
The Sabres have taken four of the six meetings with Toronto this season and
nine of the last 12 overall encounters in the series. The Leafs have also
dropped five of their last seven in Buffalo.
03/23 10:29:57 ET