Jonathan Bernier will play the second leg of tonight's back-to-back as the Leafs take on the Sabres in Buffalo tonight. Toronto won the first leg by a 3-1 margin over the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Casey Bailey is expected to re-enter the lineup tonight as Sam Carrick was reassigned to the Toronto Marlies on Wednesday morning. Bailey made his NHL debut against the Florida Panthers on March 26 and hasn't suited up since.
"Bailey will be in. Sammy played very well, he played hard. He scored a goal. He had energy and a fight last night. We're hoping he can help the Marlies as well," said Leafs interim coach Peter Horachek. "We have a lot of confidence in him, but we're going to have Bailey in the lineup tonight."
"We're going to be watching closely and we're going to be hopefully seeing what he needs to be working on in the future and where he needs to go. But he's a good kid and I expect him to continue into that direction so I think he'll get it pretty quick," said Horachek of Bailey.
Anders Lindback will play in goal for the Sabres tonight as Matt Hackett remains out with an injury. The Sabres are expected to be without defender Rasmus Ristolainen who has come down with the flu. Tyler Ennis, however, is slated to return to the lineup.
The Leafs last played on Tuesday and earned a 3-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning at Air Canada Centre. They are 3-7-0 in their last 10 games.
Toronto is 8-25-5 on the road this season.
The Sabres have had their struggles this season but are coming off a 4-1 road win over the Arizona Coyotes on Monday night. They are 2-5-3 in their last 10 games.
Buffalo is 12-20-5 at home this season.
The Leafs and Sabres required a shootout to settle their last meeting, a 4-3 Toronto victory at Air Canada Centre. Jonathan Bernier made 30 saves and three saves in the shootout to earn the victory over Anders Lindback who took the net for Buffalo. The Leafs got goals from Brandon Kozun, Leo Komarov and Tyler Bozak in the win.
Toronto has the 2-1-0 season series lead.
ONE TO WATCH
Lindback has experienced a renaissance of sorts in goal for the Sabres after being acquired in February from Dallas in exchange for Jhonas Enroth. In 11 games with the Sabres, Lindback has posted a 2-5-2 record and 2.62 goals-against average despite recording a very respectable .926 save percentage.
The big-bodied goaltender can be very effective when he sees shots well and plays aggressively. At 6-foot-6 and 210 pounds, he has a frame that doesn't leave shooters with many targets to pick out. The last time these two teams met, the Leafs' three goals came from a combination of the slot and down around the crease. They'll need to work for similar space to earn similar results.
Here's how the Leafs and Sabres are expected to line up tonight...
Toronto Maple Leafs
21 van Riemsdyk - 42 Bozak - 81 Kessel
19 Lupul - 43 Kadri - 20 Booth
47 Komarov - 23 Smith - 15 Lindstrom
18 Panik - 22 Sill - 37 Bailey
2 Brewer - 3 Phaneuf
51 Gardiner - 44 Rielly
33 Erixon - 25 Brennan
26 Moulson - 22 Larsson - 63 Ennis
82 Foligno - 25 Grigorenko - 12 Gionta
44 Deslauriers - 84 Varone - 20 Dalpe
36 Kaleta - 37 Ellis - 19 Hodgson
6 Weber - 51 Zadorov
61 Benoit - 47 Bogosian
24 Strachan - 41 Meszaros