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game preview

Preview: Maple Leafs at Sabres

Buffalo goes for fourth straight win, Toronto rookie Auston Matthews tries to shake scoring slump

by Joe Yerdon / Correspondent

MAPLE LEAFS (3-4-3) at SABRES (4-3-2)

7 p.m. ET; MSG-B, SNO, NHL.TV

Maple Leafs team scope

The Toronto Maple Leafs are coming off a 3-2 overtime win at home against the Edmonton Oilers and will have Frederik Andersen back in goal against Buffalo. Forward William Nylander was the NHL's Rookie of the Month for October and has four goals and seven assists in 10 games. "He's a real good player," coach Mike Babcock said. "We're fortunate we have a lot of real good kids. What we're finding out is the NHL, it's hard to have the puck. You never seem to have the puck, you like to have it all the time but they don't give it back to you. So they're figuring that out and once they figure that out, they'll have the puck more." Rookie center Auston Matthews plays his first game in Buffalo since he was taken No. 1 at the 2016 NHL Draft, held at KeyBank Center in June. Matthews has been held without a point in four straight games. "I think it's only a matter of time until we kind of have a big game ourselves," Matthews said. "We've just got to keep chipping away and keep going at it and those chances are bound to go in."


Sabres team scope

The Buffalo Sabres are looking for their fourth consecutive victory, but they'll do it without defenseman Zach Bogosian, who's out for what coach Dan Bylsma called "weeks" because of a sprained MCL. Bogosian was injured in the first period of a 2-1 road win against the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday. Casey Nelson will take Bogosian's spot and will be paired with Dmitry Kulikov. "What [Nelson] has done in practice and shown in practice is that he can be a great first pass, head-up guy; good offensive hockey instincts from a [defenseman]," Bylsma said. The last time the Sabres won four straight games was Dec. 9-15, 2014, when they won four straight at home. "Our starts have been much better, much more aggressive and we've come out with a lead," Bylsma said. "Playing the right way, managing the puck the right way and playing with a lead still has been the big difference in these last three games and it'll be a challenge for us against Toronto tonight."


Maple Leafs projected lineup

James van Riemsdyk -- Tyler Bozak -- Mitchell Marner

Leo Komarov -- Nazem Kadri -- Connor Brown

Zach Hyman -- Auston Matthews -- William Nylander

Matt Martin -- Ben Smith -- Nikita Soshnikov

Morgan Rielly -- Nikita Zaitsev

Jake Gardiner -- Roman Polak

Martin Marincin -- Connor Carrick

Frederik Andersen

Jhonas Enroth

Scratched: Seth Griffith, Peter Holland, Frank Corrado

Injured: Matt Hunwick (lower body)


Sabres projected lineup

Matt Moulson -- Ryan O'Reilly -- Kyle Okposo

Zemgus Girgensons -- Sam Reinhart -- Tyler Ennis

Marcus Foligno -- Johan Larsson -- Brian Gionta

Nicholas Baptiste -- Derek Grant -- Justin Bailey

Josh Gorges -- Rasmus Ristolainen

Dmitry Kulikov -- Casey Nelson

Jake McCabe -- Cody Franson

Robin Lehner

Anders Nilsson

Scratched: None

Injured: Zach Bogosian (MCL sprain), Nicolas Deslauriers (knee), Hudson Fasching (groin), Jack Eichel (high ankle sprain), Evander Kane (broken ribs), Cody McCormick (blood clots)


Status report

The Maple Leafs will use the same lineup that defeated the Oilers on Tuesday… Nelson hasn't played since opening night against the Montreal Canadiens. He's played eight NHL games since signing as a free agent out of Minnesota State last season. … Bylsma said Fasching's groin injury and Deslauriers' knee injury have not improved, so he'll stick with Baptiste and Bailey.


Who's hot

Nylander has two points the past three games… Gionta has a three-game point streak (one goal, two assists). O'Reilly has a goal and an assist in the past two games.

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