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Preview: Maple Leafs at Sabres

Toronto can move into second place in Atlantic; Alexander Nylander to make NHL debut for Buffalo against brother

by Joe Yerdon / Correspondent

MAPLE LEAFS (38-24-15) at SABRES (32-34-12)

7 p.m. ET; NHLN, SN, TVA Sports, MSG-B, NHL.TV


Maple Leafs team scope

The Toronto Maple Leafs are one point behind the Boston Bruins for second place in the Atlantic Division with two games in hand. They have 91 points, the same as the fourth-place Ottawa Senators, but the Maple Leafs have more regulation/overtime wins (ROW), 37-36. The Maple Leafs have won three straight games and are 10-2-1 in their past 13 games. Frederik Andersen will start in goal Monday when Toronto works toward clinching its first berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs since 2013. "We've just got to get ready and play hard," coach Mike Babcock said. "We've got to skate and compete. The last time we were in here we didn't do a very good job of that." The last time the Maple Leafs lost 5-2 against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center on March 25. William Nylander has 15 points (five goals, 10 assists) in his past 14 games and has points in 13 of 14. "I think [Nylander] has proved a lot, just like a lot of our young guys have this year," Babcock said. "He has a better understanding of what's expected of him so I think that's one of the big steps. The thing is, you get used to playing in the League and how hard you've got to play."


Sabres team scope

Right wing Alexander Nylander, 18, will make his NHL debut for the Sabres. He was the No. 8 pick by Buffalo in the 2016 NHL Draft and was recalled from Rochester of the American Hockey League on Monday. He'll play on a line with Evan Rodrigues and Marcus Foligno, and will play against his brother, Maple Leafs forward William Nylander, 20. "It's kind of crazy I get to play against my brother in my first game," Alexander Nylander said. "I'm just super-excited and very pumped for tonight." Nylander has 27 points (nine goals, 18 assists) in 62 AHL games. "Alex is a talented, skilled player," coach Dan Bylsma said. "He's got deception in his game, both from his shot and his playmaking ability. I think there's a good chance you'll see him have maybe a little more success than he's had so far this year in Rochester." Defenseman Cody Franson will return to the lineup after missing the past six games because of an undisclosed injury. "It's good," Franson said. "I feel good. It's nice to be back. It took longer than I'd hoped but I feel good again." Robin Lehner will start in goal. He allowed four goals on 26 shots in a 4-2 loss against the New York Islanders on Sunday. 


Maple Leafs projected lineup

Leo Komarov -- Nazem Kadri -- Connor Brown

James van Riemsdyk -- Tyler Bozak -- Mitchell Marner

Zach Hyman -- Auston Matthews -- William Nylander

Matt Martin -- Brian Boyle -- Kasperi Kapanen

Morgan Rielly -- Connor Carrick

Jake Gardiner -- Nikita Zaitsev

Matt Hunwick -- Roman Polak

Frederik Andersen

Curtis McElhinney

Scratched: Ben Smith, Alexey Marchenko, Martin Marincin

Injured: Eric Fehr (hand), Josh Leivo (undisclosed), Nikita Soshnikov (undisclosed)


Sabres projected lineup

Evander Kane -- Ryan O'Reilly -- Tyler Ennis

C.J. Smith -- Jack Eichel -- Sam Reinhart

Marcus Foligno -- Evan Rodrigues -- Alexander Nylander

Matt Moulson -- Zemgus Girgensons -- Brian Gionta

Jake McCabe -- Rasmus Ristolainen

Dmitry Kulikov -- Zach Bogosian

Josh Gorges -- Cody Franson

Robin Lehner

Anders Nilsson

Scratched: Nicolas Deslauriers, Justin Falk, William Carrier

Injured: Kyle Okposo (illness), Taylor Fedun (foot), Johan Larsson (wrist)


Status report

The Sabres had an optional morning skate Monday. … Leivo skated with the Maple Leafs on Monday. He hasn't played since March 23.


Who's hot

Matthews has 11 points (seven goals, four assists) during an eight-game point streak. Kadri has three assists during a three-game point streak. … O'Reilly has 14 points (six goals, eight assists in his past 16 games. Eichel has 26 points (10 goals, 16 assists) in his past 22 games.

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