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Game 75 Preview & Open Thread: Rivalry Night

Mar 6, 2024; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (34) battles for the puck with Buffalo Sabres defenseman Henri Jokiharju (10) during the third period at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Game 75

Toronto Maple Leafs (41-22-9) vs. Buffalo Sabres (35-34-5)

Puck Drop: 7:00 PM | Key Bank Center | Buffalo, New York


Know Your Opponent

Radio: WGR 550

Toronto Maple Leafs

Record: 41-22-9 | 91 PTS

Division Ranking: 3rd in Atlantic

Last Game: 5-1 Win vs. Capitals

PP: 6th (25.2%)

PK: 25th (76.5%)

What to Watch

1. Spoiler Alert

The Sabres’ playoffs hopes effectively ended with their embarrassing loss on Wednesday. However, they dug themselves out of an early hole last night and defeated the New Jersey Devils. This is an encouraging sign but must continue to prevent another disappointment at home against a division rival.

The Leafs are fighting to stay in the Atlantic’s top 3 with Tampa Bay nipping at their heels. Buffalo could deal a blow to their cross-boarder rival with a victory Saturday night. They have nothing to lose and that could give them the advantage.

2. American Sniper

Auston Matthews is challenging for the Heart Trophy this year. He has 59 goals and 94 points on the year. The American-born center comes to Buffalo riding a 6-game point streak with 12 points in that span. He’s dangerous all over the ice and has a deadly release. In 25 career games against Buffalo, Matthews has 18 goals and 10 assists. The Sabres will need to slow him down to have a chance in this one.

3. Support Your Goalie

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen’s breakout season has hit a bit of a rough patch in the past week. He followed being hung out to dry in the third period against Edmonton with a great game against Calgary. However, he started poorly against Ottawa and was pulled in the first period after allowing 4 goals on 9 shots.

With Levi playing Friday night, UPL is likely to start against the Leafs. Despite his varied play of late, UPL has played at a high level most of this season. His teammates need to back him up. They cannot have a repeat of the Edmonton 3rd period resurgance.

UPL’s excellent play kept the team in the playoff hunt much longer than their team play warranted. It’s the team’s turn to pick up their goalie who gave them a shot late into March.

Projected Lineups

Buffalo Sabres


JJ Peterka – Tage Thompson – Alex Tuch

Zach Benson – Dylan Cozens – Jack Quinn

Jeff Skinner – Peyton Krebs – Jordan Greenway

Zemgus Girgensons – Tyson Jost – Victor Olofsson


Owen Power – Rasmus Dahlin

Bowen Byram – Henri Jokiharju

Jacob Bryson – Connor Clifton

Starter: Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (confirmed starter), Devon Levi

Toronto Maple Leafs


Tyler Bertuzzi- Auston Matthews – Max Domi

Bobby McMann – John Tavares – William Nylander

Matthew Knies – Pontus Holmberg – Nicholas Robertson

Connor Dewar – David Kampf – Ryan Reaves


Simon Benoit – Jake McCabe

T.J. Brodie – Ilya Lyubushkin

Mark Giordano – Connor Timmins

Starter: Ilya Samsonov (confirmed starter), Joseph Woll

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Talking Points