It's game day in the Great White North and the Sabres and Maple Leafs are closing out the 2010-11 season series between one another. The Sabres are 3-2-0 this year against Toronto after dropping the most recent game by a score of 4-3 in Toronto. This game has all sorts of playoff implications as both teams need the win.
The Sabres are sitting in eighth place in the Eastern Conference with 85 points. A win tonight would put them at 87 points and potentially in a three-way tie with Montreal and the New York Rangers for the six, seven and eight spots. Montreal is playing host to the Atlanta Thrashers, so Buffalo will still have a game in-hand on the Habs at the conclusion of tonight's games. The Rangers, who will be in Buffalo to face the Sabres tomorrow night in another huge showdown, are off tonight and will have the same number of games played as the Sabres after tonight.
"Anytime you can eliminate a team its nice... you have less teams chasing you, less teams on your heals." - Forward Brad Boyes on taking on the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Leafs are on the outside looking in and need a win tonight to stay within striking distance of a playoff spot. Sitting in the 10th spot with 78 points, Toronto could move within five points of a playoff spot with a win, or fall to 11th place with a loss and an Atlanta win.
Sabres forward Mike Grier
skated with the team this morning, but his status for the night remains in question. Head coach Lindy Ruff commented that Grier will be a game-time decision.
In other injury news, Sabres defenseman Jordan Leopold
did not make the trip due to a hand injury. Leopold was scheduled to meet with a specialist on Monday, however, missed that appointment as he came down with the flu. Defenseman Marc-Andre Gragnani, 24, was recalled from Portland (AHL) and participated in practice yesterday and today's morning skate. The 2005 third round selection was leading all AHL defenseman in assists (48) and points (60) at the time of his recall. Fun Fact: Since 2005-06, the Sabres are 29-11-1 against the Maple Leafs.