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Sabres Head North to Play the Leafs

Buffalo Needs to End Late Season Losing Streak

2022 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic - Toronto Maple Leafs v Buffalo Sabres Photo by Ben Green/NHLI via Getty Images

Game 75

Buffalo Sabres (26-37-11) vs. Toronto Maple Leafs (47-19-6)

Puck Drop: 7:00PM EDT | Scotiabank Arena | Toronto, ON

TV: MSG-B, Sportsnet (Canada)

Radio: WGR 550

SB Nation Toronto Maple Leafs Blog: Pension Plan Puppets

Know Your Opponent

Toronto Maple Leafs

Record: 47-19-6

Last Game: 3-2 win over the Canadiens

Division Ranking: 2nd in the Atlantic Division

PP: 1st (29.44%)

PK: 7th (83.50%)

What to Watch

1. How Does Power Play?

The Buffalo Sabres signed college prospect Owen Power almost as soon as Michigan was eliminated in the Frozen Four tournament. Power was the Sabres’ #1 pick in the 2021 NHL draft and the sophomore had 32 points with 29 assists this season at the University of Michigan.

Power is expected to take the ice against the Leafs in Toronto. All eyes will be on the rookie defenseman. Let’s hope he lives up to the hype and shows Sabres fans he’s everything they’ve hoped he’d be.

2. Can the Sabres Continue to Beat the Leafs?

The Leafs haven’t won against the Sabres since Nov. 13, 2021, much to the consternation of the Toronto press and their fans, who feel that the Maple Leafs owning the Buffalo Sabres is part of the natural order of the universe.

Whenever this doesn’t happen, Toronto sports pundits turn on their franchise with all the cruelty and vindictiveness that Russian figure skating coach Eteri Tutberidze showed toward Kamila Valieva when she failed to finish first in the 2022 Winter Olympics. Expect a media meltdown in TO if the Sabres prevail.

The Sabres need to end a three-game losing streak and doing it against their longtime rival is a good place to start.

3. Stay Out of the Box

Toronto leads the NHL in goals with the man advantage. While it’s less than one third of PPs on average, it’s still the best in the league. The Sabres need to be careful about drawing sloppy penalties, because their opponent will try to capitalize on them if they do.

Projected Lineups

Buffalo Sabres

Forwards

Jeff Skinner-Tage Thompson-Alex Tuch

Zemgus Girgensons-Peyton Krebs-Kyle Okposo

Victor Olofsson-Casey Mittelstadt-Rasmus Asplund

Anders Bjork-Dylan Cozens-Vinnie Hinostroza

Defense

Mattias Samuelsson-Rasmus Dahlin

Owen Power-Henri Jokiharju

Jacob Bryson-Casey Fitzgerald

Starting Goalie: Craig Anderson

Toronto Maple Leafs

Forwards

Michael Bunting-Kyle Clifford-Mitchell Marner

Ilya Mikheyev-John Tavares-Alexander Kerfoot

William Nylander-David Kampf-Pierre Engvall

Nicholas Abruzzese-Colin Blackwell-Jason Spezza

Defense

Morgan Reilly-Timothy Lijegren

TJ Brodie-Justin Holl

Mark Giordano-Ilya Lyubushkin

Starting Goalie: Erik Kallgren