The Buffalo Sabres and new Head Coach Ron Rolston travel to the Air Canada Centre to take on the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight for another critical Northeast Division battle. After a lackluster performance against the Winnipeg Jets Tuesday evening and a disappointing three game home stand in which the club only managed 2 out of a possible 6 points, the Sabres organization decided to relieve Lindy Ruff of his coaching duties, and hire Rochester American’s Ron Rolston as Sabre’s interim coach.
Buffalo will look to get back in the win column against the leafs after only three victories in their last ten games and flirting with the basement in the Eastern Conference. With a victory tonight the Sabres can make up some ground on the Leafs who sit only three points behind the Montreal Canadiens who are leading the division. With a new head coach and more changes on the horizon, the Buffalo Sabres will hopefully put the first quarter of the season behind them and play a full, emotional, 60 minute game. After playing some of the most undisciplined hockey in quite some time, Buffalo finds themselves only 4 points out of 8th place in the division with over a half season remaining.
The Toronto Maple Leafs came back down to Earth Tuesday evening as they fell to the Tampa Bay Lightning by a 4-2 count. The previous two games saw the Leafs and goalie Ben Scrivens capture solid victories over both the Ottawa Senators and the Florida Panthers. The two shut out wins along with an impressive 6 wins in their last 8 games shifted the Leafs to the center of the conference.
Toronto brings a balanced scoring attack led by Nazem Kadri, Phil Kessel, and James van Riemsdyk along with stellar goaltending by Ben Scrivens into tonights match up. With top goalie James Reimer suffering a strained MCL, Scrivens has been more than adequate with a .926 save percentage and a 2.24 goals against average in his expanded role.
This evenings meeting will be the third of the season with the teams splitting the first two. The second game of the season saw the Sabres take down the Leafs in Toronto, 2-1, while the Leafs returned the favor with a 4-3 overtime win at the First Niagara Center. The teams will meet one more time in March to close out the four game season series.
Tonight’s game is scheduled for 7:00 pm and can be seen on MSG.