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Game Preview: Toronto Maple Leafs @ Buffalo Sabres

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It’s Nylander vs Nylander as the Leafs look to do the impossible.

NHL: Buffalo Sabres at Toronto Maple Leafs Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

If it feels like we were just in Buffalo, it’s because we were. It was three games ago that the Sabres were so jealous of the Maple Leafs success this season, and how far ahead they leapfrogged them in rebuilding, that they tried to injure Frederik Andersen so badly that he couldn’t continue backstopping the Maple Leafs to the playoffs. While the Sabres may have won the game, the Maple Leafs were the real winners in the long term as the injury was not enough to force Freddie out for long. McElhinney was there and help the team defeat the Panthers, and Freddie was back right away the next game, and the Leafs haven’t lost since.

Now we’re back, and looking for revenge.

Toronto Maple Leafs @ Buffalo Sabres
7:00PM - First Key Marine HSBC Midland Bank Memorial Niagara Centre Auditorium
TV: Sportsnet, TVA Sports, NHL Network US, MSG-B
Radio: Try 1050 or 590
SBN: Die By the Blade

The Maple Leafs do not have the greatest track record while playing in Buffalo. They tend to lose, which is sad for the tens of thousands of Maple Leafs fans who cross the border to watch the game. I blame this on the Sabres changing the name of the arena every other season, causing the Maple Leafs bus to get lost and the team late to the game.

They better be on time tonight, because the Buffalo Sabres have called up Alexander Nylander for tonight’s game.

It’s Nylander vs Nylander! Ladies and gentlemen the Brent Gretzky of the Nylander family is on his way to the NHL!

Now I kid, mostly, but you must admit his 27 points in 62 games looks pretty Brentish to Williams 32 points in 37 games when comparing first seasons in the AHL.

Brent was very good in the OHL in his draft year, scoring 75 points in 57 games against teenagers, compared to Williams seven points in 22 games in the SHL...against...adults.

But hey Buffalo, you got the consolation prize, that’s okay, you’re used to it.


Here are your potential lines:

Toronto Maple Leafs

Zach Hyman - Auston Matthews - William Nylander
Leo Komarov - Nazem Kadri - Connor Brown
James van Riemsdyk - Tyler Bozak - Mitchell Marner
Matt Martin - Brian Boyle - Kasperi Kapanen

Morgan Rielly - Connor Carrick
Jake Gardiner - Nikita Zaitsev
Matt Hunwick - Roman Polak

Frederik Andersen
Curtis McElhinney

Buffalo Sabres

Evander Kane - Ryan O'Reilly - Tyler Ennis
Marcus Foligno - Jack Eichel - Sam Reinhart
C.J. Smith - Evan Rodrigues - Brian Gionta
Will Carrier - Zemgus Girgensons - Matt Moulson

Jake McCabe - Rasmus Ristolainen
Josh Gorges - Dmitry Kulikov
Justin Falk - Zach Bogosian

Robin Lehner
Anders Nilsson


Quick Numbers

- Toronto Buffalo
- Toronto Buffalo
Record 38-24-15 32-34-12
Division 3rd 7th
Conference 7th 14th
League 14th 24th
Goal Differential 238 / 226 = +12 195 / 225 = -30
Power Play 24.2% - 2nd 24.9% - 1st
Penalty Kill 83% - 8th 77.4% - 26th
Most Goals Auston Matthews - 38 Evander Kane - 27
Most Points Auston Matthews - 66 Jack Eichel - 55
Top Goalie Frederik Andersen - .919sv% Robin Lehner - .921sv%

The Maple Leafs have five games left today, and if they win tonight they’ll have a 99% chance of making the playoffs. There are only two other games on tonight, which must be Atlantic Division night.

The Montreal Canadiens are in Florida to play the Panthers. This game is mostly irrelevant, as the Canadiens essentially have the division won, but winning tonight will put them at 101 points and will probably give them the division title.

The injury riddled Ottawa Senators are in Detroit to play the Red Wings. This should be an easy win, but with half the Ottawa blue line staying back in Ottawa, the ‘Wings could get the W, and help put the Leafs two points ahead of the Senators, leaving them in the wild card position to be clobbered by Washington.

As always, Go Leafs Go and BUDS. ALL. DAY.