Leafs Begin Home-And-Home Series Against Sabres
SABRES (38-30-10) at MAPLE LEAFS (33-36-9)
TV: NHLN-US (HD), CBC, MSG-Buffalo (HD)
Last 10: Buffalo 7-1-3; Toronto 3-6-1
Season Series: The Sabres and Maple Leafs have split four games as they enter a home-and-home series. The Sabres won 3-2 in their last meeting on Jan 13. Paul Gaustad and Mikhail Grabovski each notched a goal and an assist on that game.
Big Story: The Sabres enter Saturday in ninth place in the Eastern Conference after a painful 5-3 home loss to Pittsburgh dropped them out of the top eight. The Sabres and Washington Capitals both have 86 points, but the Caps have more non-shootout wins. The Leafs are staggering to the finish and were walloped 7-1 at home by Philadelphia on Thursday.
Sabres: The loss to the Penguins has ratcheted up the pressure on the Sabres to win in their final trip to Toronto this season. The Sabres saw their five-game winning streak ended as Sidney Crosby scored a goal and set up three others.
"We won't beat this thing to death," defenseman Jordan Leopold said. "There's a simple formula, we just move forward. We know we can play better."
The Sabres got goals from Thomas Vanek, Tyler Ennis and Jordan Leopold in the loss which was their first regulation defeat in 10 games. The Sabres dropped to 14-3-4 in their past 21.
"You got to put it behind you," coach Lindy Ruff said.
Maple Leafs: The Leafs can't wait for the season to be over. They'll miss the playoffs for the seventh straight season and could finish last in the East.
Nothing went right on Thursday. Rookie goaltender Jussi Rynnas made his first NHL start after Jonas Gustavsson was injured in warmups. Rynnas allowed seven goals on 30 shots as the Leafs lost their 11th in a row at home.
"You never want to give up seven goals, I am not happy about that," he said. Asked about his own team generating just 17 shots and one goal, he responded that, "My job is just to play, so it doesn't matter what we do at the other end."
Who's Hot: Despite allowing four goals to the Penguins, Buffalo goaltender Ryan Miller is 5-1-0 in his last six starts and has allowed just 10 goals in that span.
Injury Report: The Sabres are missing defenseman Christian Ehrhoff (left knee) and defenseman Mike Weber, who was hurt after being checked from behind by Matt Cooke in the second period of Friday's contest. … Leafs forwards Joffrey Lupul (shoulder) and Nikolai Kulemin (finger) are out. Goalie James Reimer (upper body) is day to day.
Stat Pack: This is the last of Buffalo's League-high 21 sets of back-to-back games. The Sabres are 13-8-0 in the first game, and 7-8-5 in the second. … Toronto is 4-8-2 since Randy Carlyle replaced Ron Wilson as coach on March 2.
Puck Drop: After the disappointment of losing Friday, getting right back on the ice may be the best thing for the Sabres, according to forward Drew Stafford.
"You can't be thinking about the past, you can't be thinking about the negativity and frustration because it's only bring you down," he said. "If we're going into tomorrow night's game thinking about the opportunities that we missed tonight, they're going to run right over us … This time of year, we know how we need to play."