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Preview: Toronto, Once More

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Sabres face Leafs for final meeting of season

NHL: Buffalo Sabres at Toronto Maple Leafs John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Game #79

Buffalo Sabres (25-41-12) vs. Toronto Maple Leafs (47-25-7)

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

Season Series: 2-1 Sabres

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

3/15: Sabres 2, Leafs 5 (recap)

3/26: Sabres 3, Leafs 2 (recap)

TV: MSG

Radio: WGR 550

SB Nation Leafs blog: Pension Plan Puppets

What to Watch

1. Jack Eichel

What will Jack Eichel do tonight? He had a pair of goals in the Sabres’ last game against the Leafs, a 3-2 win last month, and of course, had that stellar five-point night on Saturday against the Nashville Predators.

Eichel now has 25 goals and 37 assists on the season, for a total of 62 points in 63 games. With just a small handful of games remaining on the season, it could be fun to watch how he’ll finish – especially tonight against Toronto. He has 11 points (6-5) in eight career games against Toronto.

2. Sam Reinhart’s Hot Streak

Reinhart notched his second career hat trick in Saturday’s decisive win over the Predators, but it’s just a small part of the success he’s found in the 2018 calendar year.

Reinhart has 18 goals in 40 games since the calendar turned, which ties him for 16th-most in the league. He also has put up 34 points in his last 34 games dating back to January 18. Like Eichel, Reinhart has also found success against Toronto, with eight points (3-5) in as many games against the Leafs dating back to last season.

3. No Antipin

Understandably, Victor Antipin is out of the lineup tonight and is likely to miss the rest of the season. Per Sabres PR, he suffered a concussion, facial lacerations, a broken nose and dental injuries as a result of the hit from Scott Hartnell Saturday night.

Hartnell, meanwhile, somehow managed to get off scot-free.

The Sabres have also recalled defenseman Matt Tennyson, who is now on his way to Toronto. It’s unclear at this point whether or not he’ll play Monday night.

Know Your Opponent

1. Coming Off a Loss

The Leafs enter tonight’s game coming off a 3-1 loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday. They’ve been busy lately – tonight’s game against Buffalo is their third game in four nights. They beat the Islanders 5-4 on Friday.

Toronto is 27-10-2 at home this season.

2. Marner, Matthews & More

Who’s hot for the Leafs this season? The young guns. Mitch Marner leads the team with 69 points (22-47) in 79 games. Auston Matthews had 57 points, including 31 goals, while William Nylander has put up 56 points (17-39). James van Riemsdyk, meanwhile, had 36 goals and 18 assists in 78 games.

Projected Lineup

28 Zemgus Girgensons - 15 Jack Eichel - 29 Jason Pominville

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

71 Evan Rodrigues - 37 Casey Mittelstadt - 21 Kyle Okposo

67 Benoit Pouliot - 22 Johan Larsson - 13 Nick Baptiste

6 Marco Scandella - 55 Rasmus Ristolainen

45 Brendan Guhle - 41 Justin Falk

4 Josh Gorges - 8 Casey Nelson

5 Matt Tennyson (did not practice w/ team but will join)

Starting Goaltender: 31 Chad Johnson