Toronto Maple Leafs (35-23-15, t-13th in NHL) vs. Buffalo Sabres (30-32-12, 24th in NHL)
Puck drop: 7:00 p.m. EST
Arena: KeyBank Center
Game Day Notes
– Josh Leivo picked up an injury in the Leafs‘ 4-2 win over the New Jersey Devils on Thursday and will not be available tonight. Ben Smith, a healthy scratch since February 25th, will skate on the fourth line next to Brian Boyle and Matt Martin.
Tonight will be Smith’s 40th NHL game of the season, meaning he would be eligible as a 40-70 player for expansion draft purposes if he was signed through the 2017-18 season.
– The Maple Leafs‘ 2-1 win — both goals scored by Mitch Marner — in Buffalo back in November was their first road win against the Sabres since January of 2013. The Leafs are 2-6-4 in their visits to Buffalo since the 2011-12 season.
– William Nylander enters the game riding a 10-game points streak, the longest by a rookie in franchise history. Since breaking the league in February of 2016, Nylander is 27th in the NHL in points.
– Frederik Andersen enters the game having won six of his last eight (6-1-1) with a .940 save percentage. At the other end, Robin Lehner has lost six of his last eight but has still managed a .923 save percentage over those games.
– The Leafs lead the season series 2-1-0 but lost the last meeting against Buffalo 3-1 at the Air Canada Centre on Feb. 11, with Jack Eichel assisting on all three goals. Former USNDTP teammate Auston Matthews scored in the Leafs‘ 4-3 win over Buffalo in the meeting prior on Jan. 17.
– The Sabres and Leafs power plays are clicking at 26.6% and 25% respectively since the start of February (third and fourth in the NHL over that time). The Leafs have one of the worst PP/PK time differentials in the league at -33:21 (26th in the NHL) but have stayed out of the box better in the month of March with just 27th times shorthanded in 11 games (sixth fewest in the NHL).
– The Sabres will be without their top defenceman in Rasmus Ristolainen due to suspension but expect to have Kyle Okposo as well as defencemen Dmitry Kulikov and Justin Falk back from injury.
– On the out-of-town scoreboard, the Leafs will be looking for the Islanders and Bruins to avoid a three-point game. The Leafs enter with 88% playoff odds after the Islanders and Lightning both won on Friday night.
The Leafs are currently three points ahead of both Boston and New York, with a game in hand on Boston.
Statistics courtesy of SportingCharts.com
|Home Winning %||0.625||0.543|
|Away Winning %||0.528||0.405|
|Shootout Winning %||0.111||0.25|
|Goal Differential Per Game||0.25||-0.36|
|Shot Differential Per Game||-0.6||-4.18|
|Hits Per Game||24.2||23.4|
|PIM Per Game||9.8||9|
|Opponent PIM Per Game||9.8||8.9|
|Goals Per Game||3.07||2.45|
|Even Strength Goals Per Game||2.29||1.72|
|Power Play Goals Per Game||0.71||0.7|
|Shots Per Game||32.2||30.2|
|Shots Per Goal||10.5||12.3|
|Team Shooting %||0.095||0.081|
|Power Play %||0.241||0.239|
|Goals Against Per Game||2.82||2.81|
|ES Goals Against Per Game||2.23||2.09|
|PP Goals Against Per Game||0.52||0.68|
|Shots Against Per Game||32.82||34.34|
|Shots Against Per Goal||11.63||12.22|
|Opp. Team Shooting %||0.086||0.082|
|Penalty Kill %||0.833||0.769|
|Goals Against Average||2.78||2.77|
|Opponent Save %||0.905||0.919|
|Opponent Goals Against Average||3.02||2.41|
Toronto Maple Leafs Projected Lines
Leo Komarov – Nazem Kadri – Connor Brown
Zach Hyman – Auston Matthews – William Nylander
James van Riemsdyk – Tyler Bozak – Mitchell Marner
Matt Martin – Brian Boyle – Ben Smith
Morgan Rielly – Connor Carrick
Jake Gardiner – Nikita Zaitsev
Matt Hunwick – Alexey Marchenko
Starter: Frederik Andersen (30-15-14, 2.64, 0.919)
Backup: Curtis McElhinney
Suspended: Roman Polak (second of two games)
Injured: Eric Fehr, Nikita Soshnikov, Josh Leivo
Scratched: Martin Marincin
Buffalo Sabres Projected Lines
Tyler Ennis – Ryan O’Reilly – Kyle Okposo
Marcus Foligno – Jack Eichel – Sam Reinhart
Evander Kane – Evan Rodrigues – Brian Gionta
William Carrier – Zemgus Girgensons – Matt Moulson
Jake McCabe – Dmitry Kulikov
Brady Austin – Zach Bogosian
Josh Gorges – Justin Falk
Starter: Robin Lehner (20-23-8, 2.65, 0.921)
Backup: Anders Nilsson
Scratched: Hudson Fasching, Nicolas Deslauriers
Injured: Cody Franson (undisclosed), Johan Larsson (wrist)
Suspended: Rasmus Ristolainen
- William Nylander: 12 points (four goals, eight assists) during 10-game points streak
- Auston Matthews: five points (two goals, three assists) during four-game points streak
- Tyler Bozak: 11 points (three goals, eight assists) in last 11 games
- Nazem Kadri: five points (two goals, three assists) in last five games
- Jack Eichel: 16 points (eight goals, eight assists) in last 13 games
- Kyle Okposo: four points (one goal, three assists) in two games before March 2 injury
Morning Skate: Babcock, Bozak, Kadri, Nylander, Smith
Morning Skate – Leafs vs. Sabres – Mike Babcock, Kadri, Nylander, Smith + more https://t.co/LDc5NLWY4a
— Maple Leafs Hotstove (@LeafsNews) March 25, 2017