The Leafs start the home part of their schedule against their nemesis from down the Queen Elizabeth Way the Buffalo Sabres. While the Leafs won their first game 2-1 against the awful Montreal Canadiens, the Sabres were putting five past Ilya Bryzgalov and the Flyers for a 5-2 win. Tomas Vanek had a huge game with five points. In order to catch up with the Sabres, I asked Andy Boron of Die By The Blade a few questions:
# 1 What do you think was the net effect of the Sabres' summer moves?
Darcy Regier had a mandate over the offseason to make the Sabres tougher to play against. By bringing in Steve Ott and John Scott, the Sabres moved in that direction. It was a big problem for the team last season, but so was scoring goals, and it remains to be seen if the Sabres will have enough of that side of things to compete.
# 2 Is John Scott really going to protect anyone?
Scott will get in his share of fights, but if you watched the Sabres game yesterday, he might not have to be the Sabres official bodyguard. If the collective testosterone increase that guys like Scott and Ott bring is enough to make Drew Stafford want to fight Scott Hartnell, then the Sabres will be in good shape overall.
# 3 Will the Sabres make it back to the playoffs?
I think they will, but remember I'm still coming off the adrenaline high of watching Buffalo beat up on Philly and have spent the past hour calculating Thomas Vanek's point projections for a 48 game season. I don't think they'll win the division, but they should challenge for one of the #4-8 spots.
Projected Lines via The Daily Face Off:
Tomas Vanek - Cody Hodgson - Jason Pominville
Marcus Foligno - Tyler Ennis - Drew Stafford
Steve Ott - Mikhail Grigorenko - Jochen Hect
John Scott - Matt Ellis - Cody McCormick
Tyler Myers - Robyn Regehr
Christian Ehrhoff - Alexander Sulzer
Andrej Sekera - Jordan Leopold
Ryan Miller - Jhonas Enroth
The Leafs have a lineup change as Mike Komisarek and Cody Franson draw out in place of Korbinian Holzer and Mark Fraser. This is on the heels of the news that Jake Gardiner has deemed himself 100% fit and will soon be ready to return to the lineup.