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Sabres at Maple Leafs preview

Buffalo eyes home-and-home sweep; Kerfoot returns to Toronto lineup

by Dave McCarthy / Independent Correspondent

SABRES (12-10-4) at MAPLE LEAFS (12-11-4)

7 p.m. ET; CBC, SN1, SNE, SNO, SNP, MSG-B, NHL.TV  


The Game

The Buffalo Sabres look to complete a home-and-home sweep against the Toronto Maple Leafs when the teams play at Scotiabank Arena on Saturday.

The Sabres scored four consecutive goals in a 6-4 win against the Maple Leafs in Buffalo on Friday. They are 2-1-1 in their past four games and 3-8-3 in their past 14.

The loss was Toronto's first under coach Sheldon Keefe, who had won his first three games since replacing Mike Babcock on Nov. 20.

Goalie Frederik Andersen will start for the Maple Leafs after backing up Michael Hutchinson on Friday; and forward Alexander Kerfoot returns to the lineup after a two-game suspension. 

Carter Hutton, who was the backup to Linus Ullmark on Friday, will start for the Sabres.


Players to watch

Sabres center Jack Eichel, who scored twice and had an assist against the Maple Leafs on Friday, has 15 points (eight goals, seven assists) during an eight-game point streak.

Maple Leafs center John Tavares, who scored twice Friday, has four points (three goals, one assist) in his past two games and needs one assist for 400 in the NHL.

They said it

"We're not going to care about the standings until April 4, it's something we've talked about from the start. We need to take care of developing a consistent game here, we're in a learning phase. We want to stay in the race but above all it's about our development right now, small picture. But we love our last five games." -- Sabres coach Ralph Krueger

"Moving forward it's going to be more important for us to be more consistent over 60 minutes and we can worry about that tonight." -- Maple Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly on giving up a 2-0 lead against the Sabres on Friday


Sabres projected lineup

Victor Olofsson -- Jack Eichel -- Sam Reinhart

Jimmy Vesey -- Casey Mittelstadt -- Marcus Johansson

Jeff Skinner -- Johan Larsson -- Conor Sheary

Zemgus Girgensons -- Rasmus Asplund

Jake McCabe -- Zach Bogosian

Brandon Montour -- Rasmus Ristolainen

Henri Jokiharju -- Marco Scandella

Colin Miller

Carter Hutton

Linus Ullmark

Scratched: Curtis Lazar, Jean-Sebastien Dea

Injured: Kyle Okposo (concussion), Vladimir Sobotka (knee), Tage Thompson (upper body), Evan Rodrigues (lower body), Rasmus Dahlin (concussion)


Maple Leafs projected lineup 

Andreas Johnsson -- Auston Matthews -- William Nylander

Ilya Mikheyev -- John Tavares-- Zach Hyman

Alexander Kerfoot -- Jason Spezza -- Kasperi Kapanen

Nic Petan -- Frederik Gauthier - Dmytro Timashov

Morgan Rielly -- Cody Ceci

Jake Muzzin -- Justin Holl

Travis Dermott -- Tyson Barrie

Frederik Andersen

Michael Hutchinson

Scratched: Pierre Engvall, Nicholas Shore

Injured: Mitchell Marner (ankle), Trevor Moore (shoulder)


Status report

Krueger said he is considering dressing seven defensemen and 11 forwards as the Sabres did against Toronto on Friday but would not confirm his lineup until game-time. … The Maple Leafs did not hold a morning skate.


Stat pack

Vesey has five points (three goals, two assists) during a four-game point streak… Olofsson has six points (three goals, three assists) during a six-game point streak… Kapanen has four points (two goals, two assists) during a three-game point streak… Mikheyev has six assists in his past five games… Spezza has six points (two goals, four assists) in his past six games.

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