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NHL Preview: Buffalo Sabres (32-28-5) at Toronto Maple Leafs (40-17-8)

BUFFALO SABRES NOTES:

LAST GAME
Saturday, March 11
NY Rangers 2 at Buffalo 1 (OT)
Goal: Skinner
Goalies: Luukkonen (24 saves/26 shots)
PP: 0/2; PK: 2/3; Shots: Buffalo 33 – New York 26

CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 118)
Player (injury, first game missed) – total games missed
Alex Tuch (lower body, Feb. 26; IR) – 8 games
Eric Comrie (lower body) – 0 games
Rasmus Dahlin (upper body) – 0 games
Mattias Samuelsson (upper body) – 0 games

TRANSACTIONS IN PAST SEVEN DAYS
3/8: Loaned D Lawrence Pilut to Rochester (AHL)

UPCOMING GAMES
Wednesday, March 15: Buffalo at Washington, 7:00 p.m.
Friday, March 17: Buffalo at Philadelphia, 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, March 19: Boston at Buffalo, 1:00 p.m.
Tuesday, March 21: Nashville at Buffalo, 7:00 p.m.
Friday, March 24: New Jersey at Buffalo, 7:00 p.m.

TODAY’S GAME
SABRES AT MAPLE LEAFS
• This is the third and final meeting between the Sabres and Maple Leafs this season.
• Last meeting: Toronto defeated Buffalo 6-3 in Buffalo on Feb. 21.
• The Sabres are 5-4-1 in their last 10 games against the Maple Leafs; 4-5-1 on the road.
• This is the 225th game all-time between Buffalo and Toronto; Buffalo has a 120-76-28 series record.
• The Sabres are 47-45-19 on the road against the Maple Leafs all-time.

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW
• A win today would also give Buffalo 33 wins on the season, one more than they earned in 82 games in 2021-22.
• Buffalo last earned 33 or more wins in 2018-19 (33).
• With a point in tonight’s game, Ilya Lyubushkin would earn the second three-game point streak of his career.
• Lyubushkin also recorded at least one point in three straight games from Dec. 31, 2022 at Boston to Jan. 3, 2023 at Washington.
• Kyle Okposo has tallied a goal in two of his last three games.
• Rasmus Dahlin is one assist away from becoming the first Sabres defenseman since Phil Housley in 1989-90 (60) to record 50 or more assists in a single season.
• With an assist, he would join Housley and John Van Boxmeer as the only defensemen in franchise history to reach 50 assists in a single season.
• In his last eight games, Dylan Cozens has collected seven points (5+2).
• Tage Thompson has recorded 36 points (16+20) in his last 32 games, including 17 points (7+10) in his last 13 games.
• Thompson needs one goal in tonight’s game to become the first Sabres skater to record 43 or more goals in a season since Thomas Vanek (43) in 2006-07.
• In his last 44 games, Jeff Skinner has notched 52 points (24+28), including 16 points (9+7) in his last 13 games.
• JJ Peterka has notched four points (1+3) in his last six games.

TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS NOTES:

LAST GAME
Score: Toronto 7 vs. Edmonton 4
Date: Saturday, March 11, 2023
TOR Goals: Acciari, Marner, Nylander, Tavares, Tavares (PP), Matthews (PP), Acciari (EN)
EDM Goals: Ekholm, Kane, McDavid, Draisaitl (PP)
TOR Goaltender: Murray, 22/26, .846 SV%
EDM Goaltender: Skinner, 31/37, .838 SV%
TOR Power Play: 2-for-5
TOR Penalty Kill: 2-for-3
Player Notes:

  • Mitch Marner recorded four points (1G, 3A) in Toronto’s win. Marner posted his second game of the season with four or more points. Marner has recorded six points (2G, 4A) through his last two games. With his third period assist, Marner recorded his 538th career NHL point, claiming sole possession of 10th on Toronto’s franchise all-time points list, surpassing Rick Vaive (537). With four points registered, Marner improved to 83 points this season (24G, 59A). Per NHL Stats, “Marner became the sixth player in Maple Leafs history to record consecutive 80-point seasons, joining Darryl Sittler (8x from 1973-74 – 1980-91), Lanny McDonald (4x from 1975-76 – 1978-79), Mats Sundin (2x from 1995-96 – 1996-97), Doug Gilmour (2x from 1992-93 – 1993-94) and Eddie Olczyk (2x from 1988-89 – 1989-90).” Marner has reached the 80-point mark on three occasions during his NHL career (2018-19, 2021-22, 2022-23).
  • William Nylander scored his 34th goal of the season, tying an NHL career-high and recorded the secondary assist on Tavares’ second goal of the game. Nylander extended his point streak to four games where he has posted six points (1G, 5A). Nylander has posted a multi-point outing in back-to-back games while recording his 21st multi-point game of the season.
  • John Tavares scored twice and added an assist in Saturday’s win. Tavares marked his fifth multi-goal game of the season. With his second goal of the game, Tavares scored his 30th goal of the season, reaching the 30-goal mark for the sixth time in his NHL career. Tavares recorded his fifth game of the season with three or more points.
  • Auston Matthews scored on a Toronto power play opportunity at 10:50 of the third period and posted the primary assist on Tavares’ first goal of the game. Matthews posted his 30th goal of the season, marking his seventh-consecutive season where he has reached the 30-goal mark. Per NHL Stats, “Matthews became the 10th player in NHL history to score 30 goals in each of his first seven career seasons and just the second active player joining Alex Ovechkin (15 from 2005-06 – 2019-20). Matthews is also just the third player in Maple Leafs history with at least seven consecutive 30-goal seasons. The others: Darryl Sittler (8 from 1973-74 – 1980-81) and Rick Vaive (7 from 1980-81 – 1986-87).”
  • Noel Acciari scored for the Maple Leafs at 3:05 of the first period and recorded his second goal of the game at 19:10 of the third period. Acciari tied an NHL career second-best with two goals scored during a game. Acciari recorded his third multi-goal game of the season and the seventh multi-goal game of his NHL career. Acciari is now two points away from 100 career NHL points.

Team Notes:

  • The Maple Leafs scored seven goals during Saturday’s win, tying a season-high which they have marked on one other occasion this season (Dec. 13 vs. ANA).

TONIGHT’S GAME
2022-23 Matchups vs. Buffalo: Third of Three
2021-22 Record vs. Buffalo: 1-3-0
Toronto Season Record: 40-17-8
Toronto Home Record: 24-6-4

TONIGHT’S STORYLINES
The Maple Leafs are scheduled to face-off against the Buffalo Sabres tonight in the third of three matchups between the clubs this season. Toronto has posted a 2-0-0 record against the Sabres during the 2022-23 campaign and have earned a 6-2-0 record through their last eight home games against Buffalo. The Maple Leafs are playing in their second game of a four-game homestand. With a win in their first game of the homestand against Edmonton, Toronto improved to a 24-6-4 record on home ice this season, currently the third-best home record in the league. The Maple Leafs have won four-consecutive home games, dating back to February 15th against Chicago. Toronto has outscored their opponent by a 19-8 margin during their four-game winning streak on home ice.

BROADCAST INFORMATION
TV: Sportsnet RADIO: Sportsnet 590

NEXT GAME
Date: Wednesday, March 15, 2023
Opponent: vs. Colorado Avalanche
Time: 7:00 pm ET
Broadcast Information: Sportsnet (TV), TSN 1050 (Radio)

RECENT TRANSACTIONS
March 12, 2023 The Maple Leafs recalled forward Alex Steeves from the Toronto Marlies (AHL).
March 3, 2023 The Maple Leafs acquired forward Radim Zohorna from the Calgary Flames in exchange for
forward Dryden Hunt.

INJURY REPORT
Carl Dahlström Shoulder (LTIR)
Victor Mete Lower Body (LTIR)
Jake Muzzin Neck (LTIR)
Ryan O’Reilly Broken Finger (LTIR)
Nick Robertson Shoulder (LTIR)

ALL-TIME VS. BUFFALO SABRES:
First Matchup between Clubs: November 18, 1970 (Toronto 2 vs. Buffalo 7)
All-Time Record: 86-109-18-11 (224 Games)
All-Time Record at Home: 52-42-12-5 (111 Games)
All-Time Record on the Road: 34-67-6-6 (113 Games)
Last Home Win vs. Opponent: November 19, 2022 (Toronto 5 vs. Buffalo 2)

ACTIVE LEADERS VS. BUFFALO SABRES:
Games Played: Luke Schenn (45), John Tavares (40), Wayne Simmonds (32), Morgan Rielly (32)
Goals: John Tavares (24), Auston Matthews (12), William Nylander (7)
Assists: John Tavares (26), Mitch Marner (18), Morgan Rielly (18)
Points: John Tavares (50), Mitch Marner (24), Morgan Rielly (21)
Penalty Minutes: Luke Schenn (29), Wayne Simmonds (27), John Tavares (20)

2022-23 AVERAGES
Points% GF/Game GA/Game PP% PK% SF/G SA/G FO%
Toronto .677 3.43 2.68 25.8 80.9 32.2 28.9 53.3
Buffalo .531 3.65 3.62 24.7 72.7 32.4 33.4 45.5

THE MAN ADVANTAGE IN 2022-23
Power Play: 25.8%
Power Play Goal Leader: 13 – Tavares
Power Play Point Leader: 32 – Marner (7G, 25A)
2021-22 Power Play: 63/231 (27.3%)

ON THE PK IN 2022-23
Penalty Kill: 80.9%
Shorthanded Goal Leader: 3 – Marner
Shorthanded Point Leader: 4 – Marner (3G, 1A)
2021-22 Penalty Kill: 192/234 (82.1%)

FAST FACTS
Monday games 6th of 7 (4 home, 3 road)
Back-to-Backs played 10 of 14
Record in first game of back-to-back 6-4-0
Record in second game of back-to-back 6-3-1
March games 6th of 14 (5 home, 9 road)

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