The Sabres return home to face the streaking Maple Leafs

December 4, 2018
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Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) - A three-game losing streak as caused the Sabres to dip in some key league totals. Buffalo is now fifth overall with a .661 points percentage. Toronto holds down the second spot at .704 thanks to a four-game winning streak and eight wins in 10 games.

In the three games, Buffalo’s specialty teams have been horrendous. The penalty kill is only 7-of-11 and has given up a power play goal in five out of six games. That has dropped Buffalo from fifth in the league to 14th.

The team has really missed Jake McCabe and Marco Scandella when down a man. They’ve missed McCabe overall as lately, he’s probably been their best defenseman.

The power play has been 1-of-10 and is ranked 17th. Phil Housley said Conor Sheary is returning after missing four games due to injury. His speed may help the blue and goal offensively.

In the last six games, the Sabres have gotten 13 goals from their forwards. Jeff Skinner and Sam Reinhart have nine of them. Housley said that must change, “I’d like to have a little bit more secondary scoring from other lines.

“Sheary will bring the speed element, he tracks pucks well and he’s tenacious. He strips pucks from behind and he’s got a terrific shot.”

Reinhart has 16 points in his last 16 games including six goals.

Linus Ullmark is back in goal for the second time in three games. Ullmark gave up three goals on 43 shots on Friday in Sunrise. Overall he’s 5-0-2 with a 2.57 goals against and .927 save percentage.

The Sabres and the Leafs have been a rivalry since day one when Punch Imlach arrived. Housley experienced it from the Aud and Maple Leafs Garden, “It’s always an incredible atmosphere whether here in Buffalo or in Toronto.

“I just remember the old Maple Leaf Garden as an incredible atmosphere and when you play the team so many times back then in exhibition and regular season, it was a battle.”

Will Nylander is back with the Leafs, but won’t play tonight. Auston Matthews has played two games since missing 14 with an injury. He has three goals and four points in those two games giving him 20 points in 13 games.

Mitch Marner doesn’t have a goal in his last four games but he has piled up 10 assists. Marner has 32 assists in 27 games. That would give him 97 assists by the end of the year.

John Tavares has 17 goals and 30 points in 27 games.

Frederik Andersen has played in six of the last seven games. This season his numbers have been good going 15-7-0 with a 2.30 goals against and .931 save percentage.

Join Mike Schopp for the pregame live from 716 starting at 6:30 when he’ll have Phil Housley, Jeff Skinner and Rasmus Ristolainen.