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The Battle of the QEW has a different flavour as the Maple Leafs take on the Sabres

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Making it five in a row against a divisional rival.

NHL: Preseason-Toronto Maple Leafs at Buffalo Sabres Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto Maple Leafs at Buffalo Sabres

Time: 7:30PM ET

Location: KeyBank Center

Broadcast/Streaming: NBC Sports Network, TSN4

Opponent SBNation Site: Die by the Blade

Buffalo has always been one of those annoying teams for the Leafs. No matter where they were in the standings, the games would be intense and the Sabres would at times come away with the win. Now things are different as the team looks to be reaping the benefits of a draft lottery, performing assets, and good goaltending.

The Sabres are having a good start to their year as their 37 points have them third in the Atlantic Division. And although the Leafs have only one point on them, they’re showing no signs of slowing down having won their last four games in a row.

Maple Leafs

Forward Lines

Hyman-Tavares-Marner
Marleau-Matthews-Kapanen
Johnsson-Kadri-Brown
Lindholm-Gauthier-Ennis

The goat gets back into the lineup momentarily as we wait for the return of William Nylander and with the Josh Leivo trade, we’re going to assume Lindholm finds his way back to the wing.

Defence Pairs

Rielly-Hainsey
Gardiner-Zaitsev
Dermott-Ozhiganov

Goaltenders

Andersen
Sparks

Buffalo Sabres

Forward Lines

Jeff Skinner - Jack Eichel - Sam Reinhart
Tage Thompson - Casey Mittelstadt - Kyle Okposo
Remi Elie - Evan Rodrigues - Vladimir Sobotka
Patrik Berglund - Johan Larsson - Zemgus Girgensons

The Sabres offence is nowhere as deadly on paper as the Leafs’ but they do have weapons to look out for. Skinner flipped a switch after his slow start and is now leading the team in goals, but, the team as a whole hasn’t been able to score their way out of any issues lately.

Their last six games were decided by a single goal with four of them requiring overtime or a shootout. Perhaps the focus should shift over to Reinhart who has four goals in three games or Eichel who has failed to record a single point in seven. But the Leafs would gladly welcome a shootout-style match if the Sabres wish to go down that route to spark themselves.

Defence Pairs

The other Rasmus (Dahlin) - Zach Bogosian
Lawrence Pilut - Rasmus Ristolainen
Nathan Beaulieu - Casey Nelson

It’ll be the first time the Leafs will face off against 2018 first-overall pick Rasmus Sandin. It’s taken some time for him to adjust, but he’s slowly started to look like the generational talent he’s advertised. That said, the blueline takes a share of the blame for the games the team has lost.

Goaltenders

Linus Ullmark
Carter Hutton

Hutton started in yesterday’s loss to the Nashville Predators which could see Ullmark get the start. The 25-year-old has given the Sabres some solid goaltending sporting an 8-1 record to go along with a .927 Sv%.


Leafs vs Wild

Maple Leafs Team Wild
Maple Leafs Team Wild
26-11-2 Record 18-17-3
144 GF - 109 GA - + 35 Goal Differential 110 GF - 108 GA - +2
23.8% - 8th Power Play 23.2% - 10th
79.6% - 16th Penalty Kill 83.9% - 3rd
John Tavares - 26 Most Goals Zach Parise - 17
Mitch Marner - 40 Most Assists Mikael Granlund - 26
Mitch Marner - 53 Most Points Mikael Granlund - 37
Hyman - 42 Most PIM Miles Wood - 33
Morgan Rielly - 22:24 TOI Leader Ryan Suter - 26:15
Michaek Hutchinson - .839 Sv% Starting Goaltender Devan Dubnyk - .912 Sv%

The Leafs and Sabres split the season series last year with each winning two games. Points are crucial tonight considering the space, or lack thereof, between the two clubs. Timely scoring and strong goaltending have been the motto as of late for the boys in blue, but it’ll take an overall effort to go against this Buffalo team who are itching to take the first win in the Battle of the QEW.


Update: Looks like the lines are going to be a little different tonight: