Chris Drury has helped put Buffalo among the NHL's leaders in points. The Sabres, though, will have to overcome his absence if they hope to move into the league's top spot.
Drury will miss his second straight game with a concussion as the Sabres (41-16-5) try to move into at least a tie for the league lead in points when they face the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre on Tuesday night.
Drury is still recovering from a concussion suffered when he was blindsided during a game by Ottawa's Chris Neil on Thursday, and Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff said the team's co-captain is still a few days from being cleared for practice. There's a chance Drury, who leads the team with 33 goals, could return Friday against Montreal.
After being hit by Neil in the second period of a 6-5 shootout win, Drury landed headfirst on the ice without his helmet. The fall opened a deep gash across his forehead that required 20 stitches to close.
The hit also sparked a major brawl and involved all 12 players on the ice, including goaltenders Martin Biron and Ray Emery. Three players were ejected and the league fined Ruff $10,000 for sending out Andrew Peters, Patrick Kaleta and Adam Mair in retaliation.
Biron was traded Tuesday to the Philadelphia Flyers for a second-round draft pick. An eight-year veteran who had spent his entire career with Buffalo, Biron had been seeking a trade since losing the No. 1 job to Ryan Miller early last season.
Miller is a big reason Buffalo leads the Eastern Conference with 87 points, but the team will miss Drury as it tries to surpass Nashville for the league lead. The Sabres trail by one point, and the Predators don't play until Wednesday at San Jose.
In a rematch of their fight-filled game, defenseman Henrik Tallinder scored twice in a 6-5 loss at Ottawa on Saturday. It was the first multi-goal game for Tallinder, who has scored 14 times in his four full NHL seasons.
"Everyone has to chip in, but don't get used to it," Tallinder told the team's Web site.
Thomas Vanek, Derek Roy and Jason Pominville also scored for the Sabres. Vanek, second on the team with 32 goals, had three in the home-and-home series with Ottawa but has just one in four games this season versus Toronto.
Roy and Pominville, meanwhile, each have four-game point streaks. Roy has two goals and three assists in that span, while Pominville has two goals and four assists.
Toronto (30-24-9) has lost three of four, including a 5-4 road defeat to Montreal on Monday night.
"If you don't play a full 60 minutes, it's going to cost you," said Maple Leafs center Alex Steen, who had a goal. Bates Battaglia, Bryan McCabe and Jeremy Williams also scored for the Maple Leafs.
Toronto remained 10th in the East with 69 points, one behind the ninth-place New York Islanders and two behind defending Stanley Cup champion Carolina for the eighth and final playoff spot.
Williams is a rookie who has goals in each of his first two NHL games dating back to April 18. He said it's no coincidence Monday's goal came while playing with longtime captain Mats Sundin.
"When (coach Paul Maurice) told me I was playing with Mats there were a little bit of nerves there, but it just shows how amazing a player he is," Williams said . "You play with him and pucks just come to him."
The Sabres and Maple Leafs have split four games, three of which were played in Buffalo.
|Mar 24 '07||BUF 1 at TOR 4||D. Tucker|
|Mar 23 '07||TOR 4 at BUF 5||D. Stafford|
|Mar 03 '07||BUF 3 at TOR 1||D. Stafford|
|Feb 27 '07||BUF 6 at TOR 1||D. Stafford|
|Jan 11 '07||TOR 4 at BUF 2||A. Steen|
|Jan 06 '07||BUF 4 at TOR 3||A. Kotalik|
|Nov 22 '06||TOR 4 at BUF 7||D. Briere|
|Nov 04 '06||TOR 4 at BUF 1||D. Tucker|