Sabres look to continue hot streak vs. Maple Leafs
BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Buffalo Sabres will look to extend a rare three-game winning streak on Thursday when the rival Toronto Maple Leafs come to town.
The Sabres (4-3-2) haven't had many winning streaks in recent years. Buffalo had only two three-game win streaks all season.
The Sabres picked up their third win in a row on Tuesday by grinding out a 2-1 road victory over the Minnesota Wild, the same team that shut them out days earlier in dominant fashion.
The winning goal came from Johan Larsson with 6:26 remaining after the forward drove to the net. It resulted in Minnesota's first loss at home this season.
“We're a part of the shutout streak. We're a part of (Devan Dubnyk) stopping 39 shots in two periods against us in Buffalo,” Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma said after the victory. “Knowing the run they're on, knowing the run he's on, we talked about it and felt like we needed to get some traffic in front of him. It was going to have to be a longer shot and then pick up the pieces afterward, and that's exactly what it was.
“It felt good to see that puck find the back of the net against a guy that's been playing so well.”
Robin Lehner made 27 saves in the victory for Buffalo for his second consecutive win. Lehner is back between the pipes for the Sabres after missing three games due to illness.
“It's fun to play when we play the right way and we work together,” Lehner said, according to the Sabres' team website.
Buffalo may be without defenseman Zach Bogosian when the Maple Leafs come to town. Bogosian left in the first period of the win over Minnesota after injuring his knee.
“It was unfortunate,” Bylsma said. “He went down on the wall and his skate got caught in a rut. He had a tweak of the knee, so I don't have any idea of the prognosis right now.”
The rebuilding Maple Leafs (3-4-3) are coming off a 3-2 overtime win over Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers. Center Nazem Kadri had two goals, including the winner 12 seconds into overtime.
“There are a lot of people coming in here thinking it's easy to play the Leafs,” Kadri said. “That's part of the identity we're trying to create here — hard to play against. Coming into Toronto it's going to be a tough building to play against. We did a pretty good job and were able to find a way to get two points.”
After a slow start to the season, Frederik Andersen made 44 saves in the win over the Oilers.
The Maple Leafs continue to get strong contributions from their top young prospects.
William Nylander was named the NHL's Rookie of the Month for October with 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in nine games.
Top overall pick Auston Matthews is right behind him with 10 points (six goals, four assists) in nine games.