Maple Leafs vs. Sabres Game Preview

The Sabres busy week continues tonight when they head up the QEW to take on the Toronto Maple Leafs. The same two teams played Saturday night in Buffalo and the Sabres came out on top in their first pre-season matchup of the season.

The Sabres have some interesting battles for roster spots in camp this season and the pre-season games are the perfect opportunity to make an impression. Tyler Ennis and Zack Kassian both made an impression on Saturday night and they will have an opportunity to prove it was more than luck when they take the ice tonight.

Ennis and Kassian are two of seven forwards that will return to the lineup tonight. Nathan Gerbe, Derek Roy, Drew Stafford, Paul Gaustad and Cody McCormick will all make their second appearance of the pre-season. Only Chris Butler and Andrej Sekera will return to the lineup from the Sabres blueline.

The Toronto Maple Leafs cut their training camp roster by 17 players including ex-Sabres forward Wayne Primeau who was in camp on a pro tryout contract. The Leafs are expected to play many of the same players that were in the lineup on Saturday, including former first round pick Nazem Kadri.

Sabres Players to Watch

By now it is expected that Tyler Ennis will earn a spot on the Sabres opening night roster but their other players that are battling for a spot.

Matt Ellis - we all know what Ellis brings to the table but he will battle with some younger players to earn the 12th or 13th forward spot on opening night.

Nathan Gerbe - Gerbe has proved he can be an offensive force in the AHL but there are still questions as to whether or not he can do it at the NHL level. He needs to show something in the pre-season to earn a spot on the team.

Mark Mancari - Mancari is another player that has been a dominate offensive player in the AHL but he hasn't been able to make the jump. He is running out of time to become an everyday NHL player and he needs to prove it on the ice this pre-season.

Zack Kassian - Nobody expected Kassian to make the club this season but his performance in the game Saturday night has people thinking he has a chance. Kassian made a couple of nice plays and set up two of the three Sabres goals (only credited with one assist). If nothing else, the Sabres could be willing to give Kassian a couple of games in the regular season before sending him back to juniors.

Mike Weber, Andrej Sekera and Chris Butler - I lump these three players together because they are all battling for the same spot. It is likely that two of the three will make the roster but only one will earn a spot to play every night. This battle could continue into the season but the winner of the pre-season battle will have an opportunity to stay in the lineup all season.

{Update} - Tyler Ennis has left the team to attend to a family matter and will not be in the lineup tonight. It looks like Travis Turnbull will be in the lineup and Luke Adam will play for the second consecutive game.

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