Sabres Win Second In FourThe Buffalo Sabres (12-10-4) started their back-to-back, home-and-home series against the Toronto Maple Leafs with a victory, beating their division rivals with a score of 6-4 at KeyBank Center yesterday. Jack Eichel (16 goals, 34 points this year) was the most pivotal figure behind the triumph, netting twice, as well as providing an assist, thus helping the Sabres to their first win over Toronto on the last six tries (1-4-1). Buffalo has now won for the second time in its past four games (2-1-1) after going with just one victory in the previous 10 (1-7-2). The team has a 5-7-1 road record so far this year.
Goalie Linus Ullmark (6-5-2 on the season with a 3.00 GAA and a .911 save percentage) turned away 25 shots versus Toronto, but will repossess his back-up role for the following fixture, with Carter Hutton taking over the crease on Saturday. Hutton is 6-5-2 for the ongoing year with a 2.92 GAA and a .903 save percentage, and has posted a 3-1-0 past tally against the Maple Leafs with a 2.71 GAA and a .916 save percentage. The Sabres, meanwhile, are 16th in most goals scored per fixture (2.92), 14th in most goals given up on average (3.04), 18th in power play (18.3%) and 25th in penalty kill (75.6%).
Leafs Get Outdone In BuffaloThe Toronto Maple Leafs (12-11-4) ended their season-long six-date road trip with a 3-3-0 record after starting a back-to-back, home-and-home set with the Buffalo Sabres with a 6-4 defeat at KeyBank Center yesterday. John Tavares (9 goals, 18 points this year) got on the scoreboard twice for the Leafs, who snapped a three-game winning run and gave new coach Sheldon Keefe his first loss with the team (3-1-0). The Leafs had lost six consecutive outings prior to Keefe’s arrival (0-5-1). They are 6-3-4 when playing on own ice this season.
Goalie Michael Hutchinson (0-5-1 for the year with a 4.55 GAA and a .876 save percentage) patrolled the crease in Buffalo with a 30-save performance. But do expect Frederik Andersen back in the net for game No. 2, with him having recorded a 10-3-0 past total against the Sabres with a 2.34 GAA and a .919 save percentage. Andersen is 12-5-3 for the season with a 2.55 GAA and a .919 save percentage. The Maple Leafs, meanwhile, are netting the 8th highest number of goals per game (3.33), while conceding the 7th highest amount in their defensive zone (3.30). They are 16th in power play (18.5%) and 28th in penalty kill (74.4%).
Toronto (according to Covers.com)
- Maple Leafs are 5-1 in their last 6 home games following a road trip of 7 or more days.
- Maple Leafs are 14-5 in their last 19 home games vs. a team with a road winning % of less than .400.
Buffalo (according to Covers.com)
- Sabres are 1-4 in their last 5 vs. a team with a losing record.
- Sabres are 5-17 in their last 22 meetings with Maple Leafs in Toronto.