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Game Day Preview: Buffalo Sabres vs. Toronto Maple Leafs

The Sabres head into Toronto tonight coming off an odd week of sorts.  The Sabres lost two of their last three, the only win coming on the most emotional night of the season.  The Leafs head into this game winners of only 2 of their last 5, their last being the 6-2 rout of the Penguins on Saturday that led to the firing of Therrien. 

With the Rangers and Penguins losing last night, the playoff picture hasn't changed much.  The Sabres are still in 8th place, tied with the Panthers and two points behind the Rangers and Canadiens.  The Hurricanes are three points behind and the Penguins are four. 

The Sabres have to find a groove in the next few games.  Their offense has been lacking, scoring seven goals in their first three games without Vanek, 6 of them coming in the San Jose game.  The switching around of lines that happened in practice may create the spark that this team needs.  Connolly moves down to play with Kotalik and Ellis while MacArthur moves to play with Hecht and Pominville. 

For the Leafs, they have recalled Justin Pogge to play with the team on a longer basis.  Pogge is expected to play at least once in his call up this week, though it isn't certain it is going to be against the Sabres.  The last time the Sabres faced Pogge, the Leafs defense blew up and Pogge allowed 5 goals in a 5-0 shutout.  Toskala has been pretty good against the Sabres this season.  In his only appearance this season, he held the Sabres to one goal against in a 2-1 Leafs win. 

In net for the Sabres would probably be Lalime, but you can never be certain with Ruff's schedule.  Lalime looked really good in his cleanup appearance against the Hurricanes, only allowing one goal on 29 shots.  Both goalies were hung out to dry though in that game and the Sabres need to step up defensively and play with a passion that we know this team has.  While not a cruical game to win, any points that we can get heading into the final 25 games are always good points.