Buffalo Sabres @ Toronto Maple Leafs
07:00 PM at Scotiabank Arena
Watch on: TVAS, SN, TNT, MAX

The Leafs last game was at home on March 4 against the Boston Bruins, which Toronto lost by a score of 4-1 in regulation. The Leafs have a record of 35-18-8 for a 0.639 Points %.

The Buffalo Sabres last played at home on March 3 against the Winnipeg Jets. The Sabres lost by a score of 5-2 in regulation, and their current league record is 29-29-4 for a 0.500 Points %.


The Sabres are the 13th place team in the Eastern Conference. They aren't bad enough to contest with the truly terrible teams in the west, but they are very bad.

Bad comes in as many flavours as does good, though, so how bad, and at what?

The Sabres are a middle of the pack Corsi team with just over 50%. They give it away with lack of quality in their shots for, and their Expected Goals % is below 50. Their defending is better than their offence, and they actually have a positive goal differential at five-on-five because their goaltending has been a little bit above average.

To that very shaky foundation they add a power play with an Expected Goals rate in the bottom 20% of the league. They score under expected by a significant amount.

So they are bad at getting goals in any situation and have the 10th worst GF in the NHL.


Heather Engel via Daily Faceoff

Jordan Greenway - Tage Thompson - Alex Tuch
Jeff Skinner - Casey Mittelstadt - Kyle Okposo
Zach Benson - Dylan Cozens - JJ Peterka
Zemgus Girgensons - Peyton Krebs - Eric Robinson

Rasmus Dahlin - Henri Jokiharju
Owen Power - Connor Clifton
Ryan Johnson - Jacob Bryson

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen
Eric Comrie


Naturally, since the Leafs went on a big winning streak and just won't seem to stop scooping up 60+% of the points available, the general opinion on the team is dour, dreary, pessimistic and so gloomy, you'd think they got beat by the Bruins or something.

Meanwhile Ilya Lyubushkin looked good in his first full game, so that's a plus and most of the team is now healthy. It's been great having Calle Järnkrok back so there's someone who can move around the lineup.

David Kämpf is a gametime decision due to illness, and Pontus Holmberg actually centred the fourth line with Noah Gregor drawing in at practice.

Last game everyone got fooled by Ilya Samsonov coming off the ice first at morning skate, but it was Joe Woll who started the Boston game. Now the question is, who starts tomorrow? Woll again against Boston with Samsonov taking this game? Or Woll tonight and Samsonov against the Bruins.

The choice seems to be to just stick with the rotation as Samsonov is set to start tonight, leaving the Boston rematch to Woll.


Mark Masters via Daily Faceoff

Matthew Knies - Auston Matthews - Mitch Marner
Tyler Bertuzzi - Max Domi - William Nylander
Bobby McMann - John Tavares - Calle Järnkrok
Pontus Holmberg - David Kämpf - Ryan Reaves

T.J. Brodie - Timothy Liljegren
Morgan Rielly - Ilya Lyubushkin
Simon Benoit - Jake McCabe

Ilya Samsonov - starter
Joe Woll

The Game

As should be obvious to anyone who has watched most of this season, even the bad teams in the NHL are defending well. If there's a team limitation it's nearly always basic offence generation.

The Leafs dominated the Rangers and the Bruins, so they sure are playing full out. What they need to do is not fall behind. Easier said than done. You can't wish the puck in the net, but then again, do you need to give up a breakaway on the first shift, or can you maybe play it a little smarter? Use some control, some good decision making.

The Sabres are the kind of team that can be boring enough to keep the score low, and the Leafs need to not fall in line with that.