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At the Rink: Maple Leafs at Sabres

by Joe Yerdon

BUFFALO -- The Toronto Maple Leafs will be without defenseman Jake Gardiner when they face the Buffalo Sabres at First Niagara Center on Wednesday.

Gardiner is day-to-day because of an undisclosed injury.

"I don't know how serious it is," Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said. "Day-to-day; that usually means 10. I don't know the answers for any of that."

Martin Marincin will replace Gardiner in the lineup and likely will be paired with captain Dion Phaneuf. The Maple Leafs still are missing forward Tyler Bozak, who sustained a lower-body injury against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Oct. 16.

"Any time guys are out of your lineup, especially pieces like that, it's an opportunity for other guys to step up," Phaneuf said. "Injuries happen to all teams; we're no different. But I think it's an opportunity for other guys to step up and for other guys to fill those holes."

Jonathan Bernier will start in goal for the Maple Leafs.

The Sabres will make one change in their lineup, with Johan Larsson replacing David Legwand at center on the fourth line. Larsson was scratched against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday.

"I'd like us all to be harder to play against really," Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said. "Johan's a part of that. But we'll put that down the line, not just Johan."

Bylsma has stressed that he wants the Sabres to be harder to play against, but he elaborated that doesn't necessarily mean just playing physical.

"I think there's several ways you can be harder to play against," Bylsma said. "I don't think anybody on Tampa Bay liked the first period in Tampa Bay. That was hard to play against. You skate faster than everyone down the rink, that's hard to play against as well. So it's not just you take it as being just the physical aspect or dirty or hard physical. There's more to it than just that. It's not just the physical aspect."

The Sabres outshot the Lightning 16-3 in the first period what ended as a 2-1 loss Saturday.

Aside from Larsson returning, the Sabres will keep their lines intact, meaning Sam Reinhart stays at left wing on the first line with Ryan O'Reilly and Tyler Ennis. Reinhart scored his first NHL goal against the Lightning while on that line.

"They're both incredibly smart guys," Reinhart said of O'Reilly and Ennis. "I think we're all finding each other well out there. We're supporting each other; I think that's a big thing. We're supporting and communicating with one another, both offensively and defensively. That leads to offense."

Chad Johnson will make his fifth consecutive start in goal for the Sabres.

Here are the projected lineups:


James van Riemsdyk - Nazem Kadri - Leo Komarov

Shawn Matthias - Peter Holland - Brad Boyes

Daniel Winnik - Nick Spaling - Joffrey Lupul

Michael Grabner - Mark Arcobello - PA Parenteau

Matt Hunwick - Morgan Rielly

Martin Marincin - Dion Phaneuf

Scott Harrington - Roman Polak

Jonathan Bernier

James Reimer

Injured: Tyler Bozak (lower body), Jake Gardiner (undisclosed), Stephane Robidas (lower body)

Scratched: Frank Corrado


Sam Reinhart - Ryan O'Reilly - Tyler Ennis

Evander Kane - Jack Eichel - Jamie McGinn

Matt Moulson - Zemgus Girgensons - Brian Gionta

Nicolas Deslauriers - Johan Larsson - Marcus Foligno

Josh Gorges - Rasmus Ristolainen

Mike Weber - Cody Franson

Jake McCabe - Mark Pysyk

Chad Johnson

Nathan Lieuwen

Injured: Robin Lehner (ankle), Zach Bogosian (lower body)

Scratched: David Legwand, Carlo Colaiacovo

Status Update: Marincin last played Oct. 10. … In seven games against the Sabres, Bernier is 3-4-0 with a 2.83 goals-against average and .893 save percentage. Reimer, in 12 games against the Sabres, is 7-3-2 with a 2.91 GAA and .890 save percentage.

Who's Hot: Komarov has three goals and Kadri has one goal and one assist in the past two games. … Ennis has one goal and one assist in the past two games.

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