National Hockey League
Sabres-Maple Leafs Preview
National Hockey League

Sabres-Maple Leafs Preview

Updated Mar. 4, 2020 1:00 p.m. ET

The Buffalo Sabres finally snapped their losing streak in Toronto earlier this month with help from star rookies Sam Reinhart and Jack Eichel.

Reinhart also got the Sabres going in their latest victory and will try to deliver another in Saturday night's rematch with the Maple Leafs.

Buffalo (29-33-10) snapped a six-game skid at the Air Canada Centre by rallying for a 4-3 shootout victory March 7. Eichel started the comeback by scoring one of the Sabres' two goals in the third period and Reinhart had the only score of the shootout.

Reinhart scored his 20th goal in a 3-1 win against visiting Ottawa on Friday and registered an assist. He had one goal in his previous 12 games.


Reinhart and Eichel are the third Sabres rookie duo with 20-plus goals and first since Danny Gare and Peter McNab in 1974-75.

"They're going to be a huge part of our team moving forward and we're lucky to have both of them," defenseman Zach Bogosian said.

Buffalo, which hasn't won back-to-back games since Feb. 12 and 14, will try to send Toronto to a fourth consecutive defeat in the series. The Sabres have won each of this season's two meetings in shootouts.

The Maple Leafs (24-35-11) were denied a third straight victory and their third in a row at home Thursday with a 4-1 defeat to Florida. After allowing one goal in its previous two games, Toronto was bitten by a pair of unlucky bounces.

The Panthers' Jussi Jokinen was credited with goals when two passing attempts off Maple Leafs sticks got past Jonathan Bernier.

"Two goals that are pretty lucky," said defenseman Morgan Rielly, who scored his team's goal. "I don't think that they would argue that. But that's just the way the game goes. They played well. They played with speed and they generated those chances."

Garret Sparks is expected to end Bernier's run of three consecutive starts. He was in net earlier this month against the Sabres, one of 10 career starts.

Buffalo goaltender Robin Lehner is dealing with a nagging right ankle injury, an ailment that caused him to miss 39 games earlier this season. Nathan Lieuwen was called up in his absence and could get his sixth career start - and first since 2013-14 - on Saturday with Chad Johnson having played Friday.

Lieuwen has never faced Toronto while Johnson has been in net for both matchups this season.

Evander Kane will try to provide support for whichever netminder starts by adding to his three goals and two assists in his last five games against Toronto.

Maple Leafs forward Brad Boyes had three goals and four assists in his past six games against his former team but is among a number of Maple Leafs who are dealing with injuries. Boyes has an ailing shoulder that's kept him out since March 7 against Buffalo, and leading goal scorer Leo Komarov has a lower-body injury.


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