NHL

Sabres-Maple Leafs Preview

Share This Story

   
 
ANDY LEFKOWITZSTATS Writer

After two dreadful performances, the Buffalo Sabres would like to end their three-game road trip on a positive note before the Christmas break.

The Sabres make their first trip of the season to Air Canada Centre to meet the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night in a matchup of clubs bitten by the injury bug.

Buffalo defeated Toronto 5-4 on Friday but has since been outscored 12-4 in losses at Pittsburgh and Ottawa. Jordan Leopold scored on the power play in a 4-1 defeat to the Senators on Tuesday.

"We'll try and put this away, go to Toronto and get it done," goaltender Ryan Miller told the Sabres' official website.

Miller is 8-7-2 and has surrendered eight goals over the last two games. His 3.12 goals-against average is his highest since becoming a full-time starter in 2005.

While Miller is 25-11-0 with a 2.33 GAA and four shutouts versus the Maple Leafs, he's allowed 11 goals while losing each of his last three starts in Toronto.

Besides Miller's struggles, Buffalo's depth has been depleted with the losses of forwards Ville Leino (lower-body injury), Tyler Ennis (ankle) and Nathan Gerbe (concussion) among others.

"We're trying to play a simple game. We're not in the position now where we can be too fancy. We've gotta establish the simple stuff, get some energy," Miller said.

Thomas Vanek provided that in last week's win over Toronto with two goals and two assists for a season-high four points. Vanek leads Buffalo with 17 goals and is tied with Jason Pominville for the team lead with 35 points.

Vanek has four goals and five assists in his last five games versus Toronto, and the Sabres will need his continued contributions as they try to break a logjam in the Eastern Conference.

Buffalo (16-14-3) is tied for ninth in the East, one point behind Toronto (16-13-4) and Ottawa.

The Maple Leafs will be without right wing Colby Armstrong, who is out indefinitely with a concussion, and center Philippe Dupuis (upper-body injury). To shore up the offense, the Leafs recalled forward Nazem Kadri from the minors Wednesday.

Kadri had eight goals and 14 assists in 22 games with the Toronto Marlies, and was named the AHL's top player for November.

Toronto has lost a season high-tying three in a row, falling 3-2 in a shootout to Los Angeles on Monday. Following this contest, the Maple Leafs travel to face the Islanders on Friday before the holiday break.

"We're not looking past those two games and what's going to happen in January, what's going to happen in February," defenseman Dion Phaneuf said. "We're confident in our group and we're going to turn this thing around."

Toronto still has Phil Kessel, who remains among the league leaders with 19 goals and 39 points. Kessel had an assist last week against Buffalo, giving him two goals and three assists in a four-game point streak versus the Sabres.

Tagged: Sabres, Maple Leafs, Thomas Vanek, Ryan Miller, Phil Kessel

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by



Play Hockey Simulation Game on WhatIfSports

NHL Videos

Toews, Kane: Easy decision to resign with Blackhawks Posted: Jul 17, 2014
Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane say their decision to sign matching 8-year, $84M...

LA mayor 'F-bombs' Kings rally Posted: Jun 17, 2014
Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti toasts the Stanley Cup champion Kings in front o...

Kings, fans celebrate Stanley Cup Posted: Jun 16, 2014
Kings players celebrate winning the Stanley Cup with a parade through downtown L...

More Than Sports on MSN

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Reebok Sidney Crosby Pittsburgh Penguins Premier Hockey Jersey - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Pittsburgh_Penguins/browse/featuredproduct/175178/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_175000/FF_175178_xl.jpg&w=100 159.95 Reebok Sidney Crosby Pittsburgh Penguins Premier Hockey Jersey - Black
    Reebok Dallas Stars White Premier Hockey Jersey http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Dallas_Stars/browse/featuredproduct/243363/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_243000/FF_243363_xl.jpg&w=100 124.95 Reebok Dallas Stars White Premier Hockey Jersey
    Reebok Tampa Bay Lightning Primary Logo T-Shirt - Royal Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Tampa_Bay_Lightning/browse/featuredproduct/301017/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_301000/ff_301017_xl.jpg&w=100 19.95 Reebok Tampa Bay Lightning Primary Logo T-Shirt - Royal Blue
    Majestic Anaheim Ducks Black Official Logo Full Zip Hoodie Sweatshirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Anaheim_Ducks/browse/featuredproduct/398322/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_398000/FF_398322_xl.jpg&w=100 43.99 Majestic Anaheim Ducks Black Official Logo Full Zip Hoodie Sweatshirt
    Detroit Red Wings Youth Black Southpaw Backpack http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Detroit_Red_Wings/browse/featuredproduct/403205/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_403000/FF_403205_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Detroit Red Wings Youth Black Southpaw Backpack
    Reebok Chicago Blackhawks #88 Patrick Kane Red Premier Hockey Jersey http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Chicago_Blackhawks/browse/featuredproduct/408123/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_408000/FF_408123_xl.jpg&w=100 159.95 Reebok Chicago Blackhawks #88 Patrick Kane Red Premier Hockey Jersey
    Majestic New Jersey Devils Red Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_Jersey_Devils/browse/featuredproduct/456774/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_456000/ff_456774_xl.jpg&w=100 47.99 Majestic New Jersey Devils Red Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt
    Vancouver Canucks 2011 NHL Western Conference Champions Hockey Stick http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Vancouver_Canucks/browse/featuredproduct/665779/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_665000/ff_665779_xl.jpg&w=100 11.95 Vancouver Canucks 2011 NHL Western Conference Champions Hockey Stick
    Majestic New York Islanders Royal Blue Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_York_Islanders/browse/featuredproduct/752594/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_752000/ff_752594_xl.jpg&w=100 47.99 Majestic New York Islanders Royal Blue Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt