Buffalo Sabres Ready To Rake Leafs

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A pair of struggling teams face off this evening as the Buffalo Sabres visit the Toronto Maple Leafs at 7 p.m. Both teams are looking to break losing streaks, as the Leafs have lost three in a row and five of their last six. The Sabres, meanwhile, are on a four-game losing streak and have yet to earn a point on this road trip.

The Sabres head into tonight’s game coming off Saturday’s 6-1 loss to the Washington Capitals. Tonight’s game wraps up a five-game road trip for the team, who will return home to host the New York Rangers on Saturday.

Meanwhile, the Leafs come into tonight’s game off the heels of a 4-3 overtime loss to the New York Islanders on Monday. The Leafs are on the tail end of a three-game home stand; after tonight, they’ll head out on a Western Canada swing beginning Friday in Calgary.

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One notable player who won’t be in the lineup for the Leafs this evening: center Nazem Kadri, who was suspended by the team for an additional two games after missing a team meeting on Sunday.

He missed Monday’s game, and the team decided to tack on an additional two games, putting him in the press box for tonight’s bout with the Sabres and Friday’s game in Calgary.

Of course, there are several players still missing for the Buffalo Sabres: Cody McCormick, Josh Gorges, Patrick Kaleta, Evander Kane, Zemgus Girgensons and Chad Johnson.

Zach Bogosian and Andrej Meszaros are both questionable for tonight’s game but could be in the lineup — we’ll have to wait until game time to find out for sure. Seven defenseman will dress for warmups, with the healthiest playing in the game.

In other news, it’s been reported that Anders Lindback will start in net tonight for the Sabres, according to the team’s official Twitter account. Lindback is 2-0-0 in his career against the Leafs, with a .948 save percentage and 1.33 goals-against average.

Players to watch tonight for the Buffalo Sabres include Matt Moulson, who has 14 points in his last 11 games against Toronto; captain Brian Gionta, who has recorded 28 points against the Leafs in his NHL career, and Nicolas Deslauriers, who has 213 hits this season (9th league-wide).

Another player to quietly watch tonight will be Rochester Americans call-up Jerry D’Amigo, who formerly played for the Maple Leafs. A 2009 draft pick of the Leafs, D’Amigo spent several years with their AHL club and played 22 NHL games for the Leafs during the 2013-14 season. Tonight is his first chance to visit his former team, and also provides an opportunity for him to step up and show the Sabres what he’s got.

Players to watch for the Leafs include Phil Kessel, who leads the team with 51 points in 67 games; James van Riemsdyk, who is tied with Kessel for the team lead in goals (23), and center Tyler Bozak, who has registered 40 points in 67 games this season.

Tonight’s game is the third of four meetings between the Sabres and Leafs this season, but it’s the first time these teams have faced off since November 15. They’ll meet again in just a few short weeks, on April 1 in Buffalo.

Could tonight’s game require some extra time to finish? Half of the last 12 matches between the Sabres and Leafs have gone to overtime, so don’t be surprised if we find ourselves tied at the end of 60 this evening. The Sabres will have to beat the odds, however, as the home team has won 17 of the last 19 games between the Leafs and Sabres. They look for their first win at the Air Canada Centre since January 21, 2013.

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