Buffalo Sabres @ Toronto Maple Leafs
07:30 PM at Scotiabank Arena
Watch on: TVAS, SNO, SNW, SNP, MSG-B
The Leafs last game was at home on March 11 against the Edmonton Oilers, which Toronto won by a score of 7-4. The Leafs have a record of 40-17-8 so far.
The Buffalo Sabres last played at home on March 11 against the New York Rangers. The Sabres lost by a score of 2-1, and their current league record is 32-28-5.
Note the late start.
There’s only one question on anyone’s mind in March. Are you in the playoffs or in the lottery race? The Sabres were firmly in bubbleland, which can be fun for a team on the up. But they were a lot more on the up a month ago than they are now. Some losses and the re-surging Panthers have put them out of serious contention for a wild card.
By points %, they are fourth behind Pittsburgh, who have nine points on them, and can’t plausibly be caught, and the Islanders, who have seven and really are out of reach as well.
Don’t expect Buffalo to play like they’ve given up, though. It’s not impossible, after all.
Heather Engel via Daily Faceoff from two days ago, and subject to change as that top pair of defenders seem to both be hurt.
Jeff Skinner - Tage Thompson - Jordan Greenway
John Jason Peterka - Dylan Cozens - Jack Quinn
Casey Mittelstadt - Tyson Jost - Victor Olofsson
Zemgus Girgensons - Peyton Krebs - Kyle Okposo
Rasmus Dahlin - Mattias Samuelsson
Owen Power - Henri Jokiharju
Riley Stillman - Ilya Lyubushkin
Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen - presumed starter
Craig Anderson - starter
The Leafs have now played, and won, two see-saw games in a row. They started out all over the map, failing to control the play and then just snapped to action in the second half.
Sheldon Keefe has been playing an 11F/7D setup — don’t know if you heard — and that’s likely to continue. He said most recently that with O’Reilly out, it just makes sense to take the opportunity to keep all the defenders playing in rotation.
Alex Steeves was recalled yesterday for practice, but he’s not likely to play and Erik Gustafsson likely will be the number seven.
Lines from practice looked interesting, and I don’t believe that defence pair order is how the ice time will shake out. Matt Murray starts, as the Leafs try to manage the goalie workload in a jam-packed finish to the regular season.
Alex Kerfoot - Auston Matthews - Mitch Marner
Michael Bunting - John Tavares - William Nylander
- Sam Lafferty - Calle Järnkrok
Zach Aston-Reese - David Kämpf - Noel Acciari
Morgan Rielly - TJ BrodieJustin Holl
Mark Giordano - Timothy Liljegren
Jake McCabe - Justin Holl
Matt Murray - confirmed starter
The Leafs are four points ahead of Tampa with two games in hand. The points % spread is .677 to .627, which is almost enough to call the order of the Atlantic top three set. The trouble with games in hand is that you can lose them as well as win them, however.
Win this one, Leafs.