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Preview: It’s Monday and that means the Sabres are coming over — again

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Next Monday is going to seem really strange without the bus from Buffalo rolling into town.

NHL: Buffalo Sabres at Nashville Predators
Beware the giant killers.
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Buffalo Sabres vs Toronto Maple Leafs: Game #80

Time: 7:00 p.m.

Location: ACC

Broadcast/Streaming: TSN4, MSG-B

Opponent SBNation Site: Die by the Blade

Do you ever feel like your life is in a rut, and you do the same thing at the same time week after week?

The Sabres busted out of their funk by absolutely destroying the likely Presidents’ Trophy winner 7-4 in their last game. This was supposed to be the Casey Mittlestdt vs Eeli Tolvanen showcase, but it became the day the Sabres figure out their power play. The Preds, by the way, went out to a 3-1 lead, and clearly thought the game was in the bag.

The score sheet is all Eichel, Eichel, Eichel, Reinhart, Reinhart, Reinhart, and it did resemble a DEL game in more ways than just that. Nashville was mailing it in, and the Sabres are still really terrible in many ways. But just like last Monday when Chad Johnson and Jack Eichel did over the Leafs after they were up 2-1, you can’t quit on this team. Playing spoiler is the only fun they get out of hockey.

Even when they pull tricks like beating the Preds, the Sabres are still last with a three-point lead on the Senators.

The Leafs lines are expected to be the same as last time. The fourth line has been stirred up with the re-entry of Matt Martin into the lineup. Curtis McElhinney is starting with Frederik Andersen set to play the last two games later in the week.

Toronto Maple Leafs

From morning skate.

Forward Lines

Zach Hyman - Auston Matthews - William Nylander
Patrick Marleau - Nazem Kadri - Mitch Marner
James van Riemsdyk - Tyler Bozak - Connor Brown
Matt Martin - Tomas Plekanec - Andreas Johnsson

Defence Pairings

Morgan Rielly - Connor Carrick
Jake Gardiner - Roman Polak
Ron Hainsey - Nikita Zaitsev

Goaltenders

Frederik Andersen
Curtis McElhinney - starter

Buffalo Sabres

Lines from leftwinglock

Forward Lines

Scott Wilson - Ryan O’Reilly - Sam Reinhart
Zemgus Girgensons - Jack Eichel - Jason Pominville
Evan Rodrigues - Casey Mittlestadt - Kyle Okposo
Benoit Pouliot - Johan Larsson - Nicholas Baptiste

Defence Pairings

Marco Scandella - Rasmus Ristolainen
Brendan Guhle - Casey Nelson
Josh Gorges - ??

Goaltenders

Chad Johnson
Adam Wilcox


I don’t actually know how the Sabres goalies have turned from Robin Lehner and Linus Ullmark into Chad Johnson, Leaf Killer, and Adam Wilcox, but we should assume Johnson is starting. Victor Antipin suffered a concussion from a horrible hit in the Preds game, and I can’t see him playing again this season. Someone else will have to draw in on their third pair.

The Leafs third pair is also in question. Will it be Polak or Carrick or will it be both? Travis Dermott was hurt in the last game, and we have no word yet on his status. We’ll update you when we know who exactly is playing in the key spot for the Leafs.

Lines are updated with the temporary pairings. At least we hope it’s temporary.

Go Leafs Go! And don’t sleep through the third period.