Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Buffalo Sabres PreGame Skate: Toronto Maple Leafs

Tonight is the start of a home and home pre season series with our Northern rivals – the Toronto Maple

Leafs.  Will the Buffalo Sabres prospects continue to shine as positional battles still take place throughout the preseason?

That’s right – I said positional battles are still taking place.  All of the roster moves involving the Buffalo Sabres so far have been guys who may have excelled in camp – and the Traverse City Tournament, but not well enough to earn ice time for Ron Rolston.  None of the moves to junior level teams or the AHL have been players that dressed for a pre season game.

Buffalo rolls into tonight’s contest on a three game winning streak, putting wins together against the Montreal Canadiens, Columbus Blue Jackets, and the Carolina Hurricanes.

In the past, and even now, many people disregarded the pre season as nothing more than games that mean absolutely nothing; and just a way for prospects to skate in an NHL jersey against other prospects.  With the new CBA in place after last years partial season lockout – teams must dress at least nine veteran players for each pre season contest.  The ability to build chemistry between roster spot guaranteed Sabres and the youth movement is going to go a long way in the regular season for Ron Rolston to gain traction in his first official full season as the head coach of an NHL franchise.

Buffalo could be facing Joffrey Lupul in the Maple Leafs lineup – he has started practicing and head coach Randy Carlyle said he could make his pre season debut this weekend.  Maple Leaf’s goaltender Jonathan Bernier could be back in action for the weekend.  He left the last Leaf’s game after appearing for only 20 minutes – with a “chaffing” injury from the new pads he is wearing.  All goalies had to get into a smaller pad for the season – Bernier is still obviously trying to break his pads in.

Here is an update from coach Carlyle on the status of the Maple Leafs after Friday’s practice.

 

Tonight’s game is scheduled for 7PM – after which the teams will travel North to faceoff tomorrow at the Air Canada Center. Will Ron Rolston be able to keep the six home game winning streak alive for pre season action? If you are a Sabres fan headed down to the arena tonight for the action – remember the alternate traffic patterns – and be sure to represent your team loud and proud – we all know how the arena can be taken over when the Maple Leafs come to town.

With only three goaltenders left in the rotation – it appears that Ron Rolston is not sold on a Jhonas Enroth and Ryan Miller tandem; or he is getting Matt Hackett as many NHL pucks ahead of a potential Ryan Miller trade that will leave the door for a Jhonas Enroth/Matt Hacket post trade.

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Tags: Buffalo Sabres Pre Season Toronto Maple Leafs

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