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Maple Leafs at Sabres preview

Toronto out to end losing streak; Johnson goes for third straight win for Buffalo

by Joe Yerdon / Correspondent

MAPLE LEAFS (39-21-7) at SABRES (20-34-11)

7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN4, NHL.TV


The Game

The Toronto Maple Leafs will look to avoid matching a season-high four-game losing streak when they visit the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center on Monday.

The Maple Leafs are 0-1-2 in their past three games and are coming off a 5-2 loss to the Washington Capitals in the 2018 Coors Light Stadium Series game Saturday. Toronto is in third place in the Atlantic Division, three points behind the Boston Bruins for second.

Chad Johnson will start for the Sabres, who are 2-1-0 in their past three games. Johnson has won his past two starts, which have come against the Bruins (4-1) and Tampa Bay Lightning (2-1).

Buffalo is 20 points behind the Columbus Blue Jackets for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference.


Players to watch

Maple Leafs forward Mitchell Marner has 16 points (seven goals, nine assists) in his past 11 games.

Sabres forward Sam Reinhart has 13 points (five goals, eight assists) in his past 13 games. 


They said it

"It's an opportunity for us to play a team we play four times and it's going to be important. They're going to play right, I can tell you that just from the pre-scout, and they're going to play hard and so we've got to be focused on starting right and starting fast."-- Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock

"Obviously there's a rivalry between us. …We're trying to measure up. These guys are a team that's regrouped and kind of had a lot of young guys come in and establish themselves and that's something we were looking to do and we fell behind. It's a good test for us." -- Sabres center Ryan O'Reilly


Maple Leafs projected lineup

Zach Hyman -- William Nylander -- Connor Brown

Patrick Marleau -- Nazem Kadri -- Mitchell Marner

James van Riemsdyk -- Tyler Bozak -- Kasperi Kapanen

Matt Martin -- Tomas Plekanec -- Leo Komarov

Morgan Rielly -- Ron Hainsey

Jake Gardiner -- Nikita Zaitsev

Travis Dermott -- Connor Carrick

Frederik Andersen

Curtis McElhinney

Scratched: Roman Polak, Dominic Moore, Josh Leivo

Injured: Auston Matthews (shoulder)

Sabres projected lineup

Zemgus Girgensons -- Ryan O'Reilly -- Sam Reinhart

Scott Wilson -- Johan Larsson -- Jason Pominville

Jordan Nolan -- Jacob Josefson -- Kyle Okposo

Benoit Pouliot -- Kyle Criscuolo -- Nicholas Baptiste

Marco Scandella -- Rasmus Ristolainen

Brendan Guhle -- Casey Nelson

Nathan Beaulieu -- Victor Antipin

Chad Johnson

Robin Lehner

Scratched: Seth Griffith, Josh Gorges, Justin Falk

Injured: Evan Rodrigues (upper body), Jack Eichel (high-ankle sprain), Jake McCabe (shoulder), Zach Bogosian (hip)


Status report

The Maple Leafs had an optional skate. ... Andersen will start and Martin, who was a healthy scratch the past 18 games, will return to the lineup for the first time since Jan. 22. ... Eichel began skating on his own for the first time since he was injured Feb. 10. ... Guhle and Criscuolo were recalled from Rochester of the American Hockey League on Sunday.


Stat pack

The home team has won 24 of the past 30 games between the Sabres and Maple Leafs. Buffalo is 18-3-1 in its past 22 home games against Toronto.

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