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Preview: Jake Gardiner makes his preseason debut as the Leafs head to Buffalo

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It’s a beautiful day for a bus trip to Buffalo!

Toronto Maple Leafs v Buffalo Sabres Photo by Kevin Hoffman/Getty Images

Maple Leafs @ Buffalo Sabres: Preseason Game Four

When: 7:00 p.m.

Where: Whatever they call that rink in Buffalo these days

Who: Die By the Blade is the SBN site for the Sabres

How: Watch it on Sportsnet and Sportsnet one as well as Rogers NHL Live

Why: Tyler Ennis left some stuff at his old place

Tonight, the Leafs ramp up the difficulty level a little and play against something closer to the real Buffalo Sabres in their home rink. It’s also the battle of the first overall picks as Auston Matthews meets Rasmus Dahlin for the first time of many, many games to come.

It will be hard to top last night’s festival of teenage enthusiasm, but the twenty-somethings jockeying for roster spots on the Leafs should make things interesting. Jake Gardiner makes his debut on his old pairing with Nikita Zaitsev, and may we never see Marincin-Zaitsev again.

Rosters and Lines

Buffalo Sabres lines from their website:

53 Jeff Skinner - 9 Jack Eichel - 29 Jason Pominville

71 Evan Rodrigues - 10 Patrik Berglund - 23 Sam Reinhart

95 Justin Bailey - 22 Johan Larsson - 21 Kyle Okposo

20 Scott Wilson -51 Kyle Criscuolo - 65 Danny O’Regan / 64 Tyler Randell

6 Marco Scandella - 55 Rasmus Ristolainen

26 Rasmus Dahlin - 19 Jake McCabe

82 Nathan Beaulieu - 4 Zach Bogosian

33 William Borgen

40 Carter Hutton

31 Scott Wedgewood

50 Michael Houser


The defence for Buffalo in this game is an order of magnitude better than Friday night. This is also our first chance to see Jeff Skinner as a Sabre, playing on the top line, and Sam Reinhart, newly signed, will make his debut.

For the Leafs, they want that Par Lindholm line to look like a legitimate NHL line, and for Auston Matthews and his wingers to just be who they are. The Leafs defence is interesting, and the pairing of Calle Rosen and Igor Ozhiganov is one to watch. They both want roster spots, and they have wildly different styles of play that just might compliment each other.

Don’t actually expect to see Travis Dermott tonight, as he was practising yesterday in a non-contact jersey, although he went on the trip and was at morning skate in a regular jersey. The NHL must have told the teams to release more injury news because Mike Babcock has reported that Dermott has a minor shoulder injury unrelated to anything from last year, and Zach Hyman left last night’s game with a hip pointer bruise.

This might be the last time for the AHLers in preseason, as the Leafs may make some more cuts after this game.

If we get more news, we will update you, but until then, there’s likely a few tickets available if you feel like a roadie.

Interesting addition, since they had seven healthy guys.