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Sabres at Maple Leafs preview

Okposo will play for Buffalo; Andersen starts seventh straight for Toronto

by Dave McCarthy / Correspondent

SABRES (29-24-8) at MAPLE LEAFS (37-20-4)



The Game

Kyle Okposo will be in the lineup for the Buffalo Sabres against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena on Monday. The 30-year old forward has missed the past four games after sustaining a concussion Feb. 15 in a 6-2 loss to the New York Rangers.

Goalie Carter Hutton will start for the Sabres, who are 1-3-1 in their past five games and have scored two or fewer goals in five of their past seven. They are six points behind the Carolina Hurricanes for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference.

Goalie Frederik Andersen will make his seventh straight start for the Maple Leafs. Andersen is 6-2-1 with a 2.69 goals-against average, and a .922 save percentage in his past nine starts. 

The Maple Leafs are 1-2-1 in their past four games after going 6-1-0 in their prior seven and are three points behind the Boston Bruins for second in the Atlantic Division.


Players to watch

Sabres forward Sam Reinhart has six points (four goals, two assists) in his past five games, including a hat trick in a 5-2 win against the Washington Capitals on Saturday.

Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews has 10 points (five goals, five assists) in his past six games. He is one goal from becoming the first player in Maple Leafs history to score 30 goals in each of his first three NHL seasons.


They said it

"He's been skating so it's great. He's ready to go, he gave me the thumbs up, he's been itching to get back in the lineup so it's great to see." -- Sabres coach Phil Housley on forward Kyle Okposo

"I'm just trying to make the best of every day. That's been my mindset, not worrying about too much. You really want to keep that same battle level and keep your focus on the present, being in the moment, the games you're in. There are some important games down the stretch. We want to feel good and earn our confidence going into the playoffs." -- Maple Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen


Sabres projected lineup

Jeff Skinner -- Jack Eichel -- Jason Pominville

Conor Sheary -- Evan Rodrigues -- Sam Reinhart

Tage Thompson -- Vladimir Sobotka -- Kyle Okposo

Scott Wilson -- Johan Larsson -- Zemgus Girgensons

Jake McCabe -- Rasmus Ristolainen

Rasmus Dahlin -- Zach Bogosian

Nathan Beaulieu -- Matt Hunwick

Carter Hutton

Linus Ullmark

Scratched: Casey Nelson, C.J. Smith, Danny O'Regan, Brandon Montour

Injured: Casey Mittelstadt (lower body)


Maple Leafs projected lineup

Andreas Johnsson -- Auston Matthews -- Kasperi Kapanen

Zach Hyman -- John Tavares -- Mitchell Marner

Patrick Marleau -- William Nylander -- Connor Brown

Par Lindholm -- Frederik Gauthier -- Tyler Ennis

Morgan Rielly -- Ron Hainsey

Jake Gardiner -- Nikita Zaitsev

Jake Muzzin -- Travis Dermott

Frederik Andersen

Garret Sparks

Scratched: Igor Ozhiganov, Justin Holl

Injured: Nazem Kadri (concussion)


Status report

Montour, who was acquired in a trade with the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday, will make his Buffalo debut against the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday, Housley said. ... Mittelstadt was on the ice for morning skate but will be a game-time decision. … Kadri will miss his third straight game. Coach Mike Babcock said he has not yet begun skating.


Stat pack

Eichel has five points (one goal, four assists) during a four-game point streak. … Johnsson has 11 points (seven goals, four assists) in his past nine games. … Rielly has five points (one goal, four assists) in his past five games.

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