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Preview: Trip up the QEW

The Sabres head to Toronto to face the Leafs tonight

NHL: Toronto Maple Leafs at Buffalo Sabres Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Game #76

Buffalo Sabres (23-40-12) vs. Toronto Maple Leafs (45-23-7)

Puck drop: 7:00 p.m. EST | Air Canada Centre | Toronto, ON

Season Series: 1-1

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

3/15 Leafs 5, Sabres 2 (recap)


Radio: WGR 550

SB Nation Leafs blog: Pension Plan Puppets

What to Watch

1. Response

The Sabres have played poorly over the last three games. They’ve lost all three and have been outscored 12-2. They’ve been called out numerous times by their coach over the past few days. We’ll see what kind of response they have tonight against a division rival.

2. Guhle and Risto

Rasmus Ristolainen and Brendan Guhle were skating together this morning at practice. This could be a glimpse into one of the top pairs we’ll see next season for the Sabres.

3. Ullmark Back in Goal

Linus Ullmark will be back between the pipes for the Sabres. He’s only given up one goal in four of five of his appearances this season. He goes into tonight with a 2.00 goals against average and .935 save percentage.

Know Your Opponent

1. Matthews is Back

For the first time this season the Sabres will face the Leafs with Auston Matthews in the lineup. The star center returned from a shoulder injury last week and he’s picked up a point in each of the two games he’s played. This will also be the first time Matthews and Jack Eichel will be on the same ice this season.

2. JVR

Last time the Leafs were in Buffalo, James van Riemsdyk was getting hot. A few weeks later he’s still on fire. He has eight goals and 11 points in his last six games entering tonight.

3. Home Winning Streak

The Leafs have not lost a game in their own building since January 22. They’re on a 13 game winning streak in Air Canada Centre. Combine that with the fact they’ve won six of their last seven games, if the Sabres are not on their game tonight it could get ugly.

Projected Lineup

28 Zemgus Girgensons - 15 Jack Eichel - 29 Jason Pominville

20 Scott Wilson - 90 Ryan O’Reilly - 21 Kyle Okposo

17 Jordan Nolan - 22 Johan Larsson - 23 Sam Reinhart

67 Benoit Pouliot - 71 Evan Rodrigues - 13 Nick Baptiste

45 Brendan Guhle - 55 Rasmus Ristolainen

6 Marco Scandella - 8 Casey Nelson

82 Nathan Beaulieu - 41 Justin Falk

Starting Goaltender: 35 Linus Ullmark