LGD: Let’s Go To Buffalo

The entire sports world (minus Cleveland, I guess) is running off the high of watching the greatest drought in the various lands vanish last night, so I guess it’s fitting that tonight’s most important hockey game involves two perennial losers from cities that have felt sports helpless for the past little while. The Toronto Maple Leafs take on the Buffalo Sabres tonight at KeyBank Center; here’s what’s going down.

The Leafs

Toronto Maple Leafs lines courtesy of Daily Faceoff

Nothing ever really changes. Frank Corrado briefly appeared to be paired with Peter Holland in practice. I almost fainted after reading that.

The Sabres

Buffalo Sabres lines courtesy of Daily Faceoff

The fact that the Sabres aren’t dead last in every single defensive stat is a testament to Dan Bylsma’s ability to be the best damn coach that Buffalo could possibly get after Mike Babcock chose the Leafs instead. Or the fact that they’re still mid-range while playing low-event hockey while still being dead last in league-wide CF%, might just mean they’re boring and bad at the same time. 

Starting Goaltenders

Frederik Andersen will start in goal for the Leafs. Freddy has been great over the past three games, catching his groove with a 0.944 save percentage in that span. Things are looking up for the Great Dane; we’ll see if he can continue his run of form tonight.

Robin Lehner will protect the pipes in the other goal. He has a 3-2-1 record and 0.921 save percentage to start the year, and looks poised to show that his appearances last year were no fluke. 

What To Watch For

Expect Jack Eichel to be completely invisible in his team’s first matchup against superior American prospect Auston Matthews and his squad. Seriously, I’d be shocked if you even noticed him on the ice. 

Also, William Nylander is going to score and attempt to point at his brother Alex, but it remains to be seen whether he knows which direction Rochester is in.

Puck drop is at 7:00 PM and you can catch the action on Sportsnet.

    • Jeff Veillette

      Pregames almost never have value as of a few hours after publish, so I like to have fun with them, especially if the team I’m previewing is facing a team that has a fanbase that would respond with fists flying

  • Capt.jay

    Ive said it before, I’ll say it again. Soshnikov goes to the Matthews line and Marner moves to Kadri while brown moves with JVR and Bozak. Bozak doesn’t have the skill to play with Marner which has been very evident while Browns games is a bit less skilled for him. Soshnikov has the same energy as Hyman but with much more skill.

    • LukeDaDrifter

      Do you really want to change Kadri’s role as an elite shutdown center with lots of offensive upside? Did you not see Kadri play that role to perfection against the red hot Oilers? Why rock the boat so soon? Moving Marner there would change the lines role to mainly offense. To me the Leafs have been starting to jell since the Montreal game. I feel it is too early to break all the lines up and start again. I am sure Babcock is not done tinkering with the lineups. I am also sure Babcock likes the fact opposing coaches can not shutdown all three of our top 9 lines. They can shutdown one line maybe two even, but the third line comes up to bite them. The only thing can stop our whole top nine now it a super hot goaltender.

      • Capt.jay

        I see what you are saying but changing a rookie linemate for another didn’t seem all that ground breaking to me.

        Edit. And after that beauty pass from Bozak to set up Marner I take everything back.

        • LukeDaDrifter

          Nice one Capt. I was thinking of you when Bozak and Marner made that play. I really loved Marner’s pass to Bozak. he had to whole Buffalo team heading up the ice after him, then suddenly shot the puck around to Bozak. Thank goodness Bozak knew what he was up to or he would of headed up ice with all the Sabres. What about that Andersen save near the end of the period. Where is that guy who said Andersen needs to go down to the Marlies?