There's only 60 miles between Toronto and Buffalo, though there's a considerable distance between the Sabres and Maple Leafs in the Northeast Division standings. The Sabres will try to widen that gap on Friday night when they meet their closest rival as part of the NHL's five-game schedule.
The first-place Sabres have put some room between themselves and the rest of the division as Leafs come to HSBC Arena for the 7:30 ET start. Buffalo has won all four meetings this season, though two of the victories have come in overtime.
The evening's activities get under way a half-hour earlier with a pair of games. Eastern Conference-leading New Jersey starts the second half of its season by hosting the Tampa Bay Lightning
at the Prudential Center. The Devils became the last team to complete the first half of its schedule on Tuesday by shutting out Dallas 4-0. Tampa Bay lost 5-3 at Buffalo on Wednesday.
Also at 7 p.m. ET, the Colorado Avalanche
visit Carolina. The Avs are coming off a 3-2 home loss to the New York Islanders
on Wednesday, while the 'Canes lost 4-2 at Nashville on Thursday.
The Isles continue their Western trip with a visit to Dallas (8:30 p.m. ET). It's their first visit to the American Airlines Center since November 2006 and just the third since 2001.
The last game on the schedule faces off at 9 p.m. ET when the struggling Columbus Blue Jackets
visit Calgary. Columbus ended a 13-game road losing streak on Thursday with a 4-2 win at Edmonton. Calgary comes home after losing 4-1 at Minnesota on Wednesday.