Sabres vs. Leafs preview: This game will forever determine whose rebuild is better, or somthing

The Sabres and Leafs battle it out for the final time this season, with franchise pride on the line.

Game #78

Buffalo Sabres (31-35-11) vs.
Toronto Maple Leafs (28-37-11)

Puck Drop: 7:00 pm EST | First Niagara Center | Buffalo
TV: MSG, Bell, TSN4, NHL.TV | Radio: WGR 550
SB Nation Leafs Blog: Pension Plan Puppets

Three Questions

1. Will Evander Kane play tonight (again)?

Kane is still day-to-day, and with the Sabres off yesterday after playing in back-to-back games, we won't get an update until later today on whether Kane can go tonight or not. His absence forces the Sabres into their 2013-15 form of one top line, two third lines, and a borderline-useless fourth line, but if Kane can play tonight, expect either Deslauriers or Fasching to move up and play the other wing alongside Kane and O'Reilly.

2. Can the Sabres show some consistency between periods?

Buffalo's last few games have been emotional rollercoasters. We've seen late comeback wins, huge leads blown for losses, and stretches of play that were great, boring, and bad, sometimes all in the same game. With just five games to go in the season, it would be nice for the Sabres to show they can put together a solid, consistent effort for three periods.

3. What will tomorrow's snarky rebuilding column look like?

There's been no easier target over the past three years for columnists on a deadline than rebuilding teams - the Sabres chief among them. But after the pure-of-heart Leafs took down the scheming Sabres in their last encounter, we saw some eye-rolling writing regarding who's doing what the right way and other such nonsense. NHL writers know that both the Leafs and Sabres fanbases are notoriously thin-skinned when it comes to people ragging on their teams, so articles on Buffalo and Toronto gt click-multiplying bonuses built in. The question is, after tonight's game, who gets to write the "We're right, you're wrong" column tomorrow?

Projected BUF lines

O'Reilly - Eichel - Reinhart
Foligno - Larsson - Gionta
Deslauriers - Girgensons - Fasching
C. O'Reilly - Legwand - Moulson

Gorges - Ristolainen
McCabe - Bogosian
Pysyk - Nelson

Goal: Chad Johnson