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Preview: They’re Back

The Leafs are back in Buffalo again to make their final visit of the season

NHL: Toronto Maple Leafs at Buffalo Sabres Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Game #70

Buffalo Sabres (22-35-12) vs. Toronto Maple Leafs (41-22-7)

Puck drop: 7:00 p.m. EST | KeyBank Center | Buffalo, NY

Season Series: 1-0 Sabres

3/5: Sabres 5, Leafs 3 (recap)


Radio: WGR 550

SB Nation Leafs blog: Pension Plan Puppets

What to Watch

1. Roster Shakeup

Evan Rodrigues will return to the lineup tonight after being out since February 28. Justin Bailey is back from Rochester and will skate on the fourth line. Jack Eichel will not return tonight. Lastly, Marco Scandella did not take the morning skate but will play tonight

2. Home Ice Advantage

It doesn’t matter how poor the Sabres have been the last few years. They seem to always beat the Leafs in their own building. Toronto is 2-8-0 in their last 10 games in Buffalo. Including a 5-3 loss just last week in KeyBank Center.

3. Finding Consistency

Bailey is getting another opportunity after a good game last Saturday for the Sabres and following that up with a good game in Rochester on Sunday. This opportunity is huge for Bailey if he wants to make his mark on management. He’s shown flashes but has struggled to play that well at a consistent level.

Know Your Opponent

1. Injuries

The Leafs come into tonight without some big pieces. Star center Auston Matthews is getting closer, but will not play tonight. Also, they lost starting goaltender Frederik Andersen to an injury in their win over the Stars last night. They recalled goaltender Garret Sparks from the Toronto Marlies this morning but won’t start tonight.

2. JVR

James Van Riemsdyk helped the Leafs pick up the win last night in a wild game with a hat-trick. The big winger is up to 29 goals on the season now.

3. Back to Back

Last time the Leafs visited Buffalo they were playing the second game of a back to back. Tonight will be the same story after a hard game against Dallas. The Sabres, on the other hand, have been off since Saturday.

Projected Lineup

20 Scott Wilson - 90 Ryan O’Reilly - 23 Sam Reinhart

67 Benoit Pouliot - 22 Johan Larsson - 29 Jason Pominville

28 Zemgus Girgensons - 71 Evan Rodrigues - 13 Nick Baptiste

17 Jordan Nolan - 10 Jacob Josefson - 95 Justin Bailey

6 Marco Scandella - 55 Rasmus Ristolainen

45 Brendan Guhle - 8 Casey Nelson

82 Nathan Beaulieu - 93 Victor Antipin

Starting Goaltender: 40 Robin Lehner