NHL

Maple Leafs-Sabres Preview

Share This Story

   
 

Since Buffalo beat the Toronto Maple Leafs in its first game after undergoing an organizational shakeup earlier this month, the Sabres have yet to win.

They'll look to avoid a sixth consecutive defeat while trying to extend the Maple Leafs' season-high road skid to six Friday night.

Buffalo (5-20-1) had reason to feel optimistic after a 3-1 home victory over Toronto on Nov. 15, which came two days after owner Terry Pegula fired general manager Darcy Regier and coach Ron Rolston. Ex-Sabre Pat LaFontaine was named to the newly created role of president of hockey operations, then selected his former Buffalo coach Ted Nolan to fill the same capacity.

However, the visiting Sabres lost 4-2 to Toronto (14-9-2) the next night and have recorded one goal in each game while being outscored 14-4 over the last four. The Sabres, whose 45 goals are by far the fewest in the NHL, fell to 2-11-1 at home after Wednesday's 3-1 defeat to Montreal.

"It is the same theme and it's simply not good enough," captain Steve Ott told the Sabres' official website. "I'm not going to sugarcoat. What's going on here is nothing to be proud of by any means.

"We found a way to lose. Good teams, confident teams find ways to battle in it and stick with a game. For us, we need to find that going forward and collectively."

Though Buffalo has been outscored 11-1 after the first period of the last four games and allowed its last five opponents to go 7 of 19 (36.8 percent) on the power play, Nolan believes his club is making progress.

"The one thing we asked our team to do is compete, and we competed," he said. "When things are difficult, it's easy to point fingers, but this group is really starting to pay attention. We're making strides in the right direction."

He hopes Matt Moulson will continue to produce after snapping an 11-game goal drought Wednesday. Moulson, who is likely to play after taking a hit to the boards in the second period, has five goals and two assists in his last six games against Toronto.

Though the Maple Leafs' situation isn't as dire as Buffalo's, they are trying to avoid losing six straight on the road for the first time since an 0-7-1 slide Oct. 23-Nov. 27, 2010.

After being limited to three goals in the previous four road games, Toronto held a 4-1 second-period lead Wednesday before Pittsburgh scored four of the next five to force overtime and win 6-5 in a shootout.

"We've got some talented players on the team, we've just got to find ways to finish games," said forward James van Riemsdyk, who had two goals with an assist. "It's not doom and gloom but we've got to find ways to win games like that."

Three of Pittsburgh's final four goals came on the power play. In consecutive losses to Columbus and the Penguins, the Maple Leafs have managed to kill four of nine penalties.

"We take penalty after penalty and take our momentum away," said coach Randy Carlye, whose team was outshot 17-0 in the third period Wednesday.

Van Riemsdyk snapped a four-game goal drought since scoring twice at home against the Sabres. Those are his only four goals in his last 11 contests.

Tagged: Sabres, Maple Leafs, James van Riemsdyk

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

LA mayor at Kings rally: 'This is a big f**king day!' 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...

Highlights: Rangers/Kings - Game 5 Posted: Jun 14, 2014
Watch highlights of the Kings' 2OT win over the Rangers to win the Stanley Cup.

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