Maple Leafs-Sabres Preview
GAME: Toronto Maple Leafs (38-22-9-3) at Buffalo Sabres (31-31-6-3).
TIME: Monday, 7 p.m. EST.
With his team slipping in the standings, Toronto Maple Leafs coach Pat Quinn
is not pleased.
Looking to avoid their fourth loss in five games, the Maple Leafs will need
to play better when they face a Buffalo Sabres team desperate for points.
Toronto's 1-3 slump has dropped it from first place to third in the
competitive Northeast Division. The Maple Leafs' latest loss was a 4-3 defeat
Saturday against the fourth-place Montreal Canadiens, who trail Toronto by
"I don't like how we're playing right now," Quinn said. "Our big line
didn't have a sniff all night. They played against their checking line and got
nothing because they didn't work for it."
The acquisition of veteran center Ron Francis was supposed to spark the
Leafs. Francis recorded his first point with his new team with an assist
Saturday, but Toronto has lost its first two games with Francis in the lineup.
The Maple Leafs, in first place at the beginning of the week, have fallen
behind Ottawa and Boston.
The Sabres, five points behind the New York Islanders for the eighth and
final playoff spot in the East, squandered a pair of chances to gain more
points this week.
Buffalo blew leads against Boston in each game of a home-and-home series and
lost both contests in overtime.
The Sabres had a two-goal advantage at the FleetCenter on Saturday before
Nick Boyton's fluke goal sparked a Boston comeback. The Bruins won 3-2 on Mike
Knuble's goal with 3.9 seconds left in the extra period.
"It was weird," said Sabres goalie Martin Biron, who stopped 36 shots but
allowed Boynton's 180-foot goal. "I probably won't see that again in five
STANDINGS (through March 13): Maple Leafs - 88 points, 3rd place, 3 PB,
Northeast Division. Sabres - 71 points, 5th place, 20 PB, Northeast Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Maple Leafs - Mats Sundin, 27 goals, 40 assists and 67 points;
Tie Domi, 201 PIM. Sabres - Miroslav Satan, 27 goals; Daniel Briere, 31 assists
and 55 points; Andrew Peters, 124 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS (through March 13): Maple Leafs - Power play: 19.9 percent (66
for 331), 5th in NHL. Penalty killing: 84.5 percent (283 for 335), 11th. Sabres
- Power play: 15.7 percent (49 for 312), 18th. Penalty killing: 85.1 percent
(257 for 302), 6th.
GOALTENDERS: Maple Leafs - Ed Belfour (28-17-5, 7 SO, 2.17 GAA); Trevor Kidd
(5-5-2, 1, 3.15). Sabres - Mika Noronen (11-15-2, 2, 2.47); Biron (20-16-4, 1,
SEASON SERIES: Sabres, 3-0-1.
LAST MEETING: March 6; Sabres, 5-1. At Toronto, Satan had a goal and two
assists, and Biron made 32 saves to lift the Sabres.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Maple Leafs - 18-10-7-1 on the road; Sabres - 18-12-4-2