The Sabres are in Toronto tonight to take on the rival Maple Leafs in the first of four meetings this season. Last season, home ice advantage proved to be crucial, with the home team winning each of the six games.
The Sabres are 106-65-18 against the Maple Leafs all-time, winning 60.8 percent of games.
The Maple Leafs are coming off a 2-1 win in Montreal and the crowd will be pumped up for their home opener.
Nazem Kadri is one player who looked strong in Montreal that the Sabres should be watching. Phil Kessel was among the league’s elite last year and will be looking to net his first goal of the year as well.
Phil Kessel has 13 goals and 10 assists in a career 38 games against Buffalo. Ex-Sabre Clarke McArthur has posted three goals and seven assists in 13 games against the Sabres and usually looks sharp against the blue and gold.
With players like Dion Phaneuf, Mike Komisarek, and Colton Orr on the Leafs roster the chance of a fight is high. They won’t have a hard time finding a dancing partner with Foligno, Regehr, Ott, Kaleta and Scott all willing to drop the gloves.
In Sunday’s game against the Flyers the Buffalo offense looked sharp, led by Thomas Vanek with five points. The offense was firing on all cylinders and Drew Stafford showed great leadership by dropping the gloves with Scott Hartnell.
Steve Ott scored the first goal for the Sabres this season and was tremendously physical in his first game as a Sabre.
Thomas Vanek has 22 goals and 23 assists in 44 career games against Toronto. Jason Pominville is also strong against the Leafs with 15 goals and 29 assists in 46 Games.
If the Sabres bring the same scrappy mentality into tonight’s game the points will keep on coming. A goal for the Sabres tonight should be to reduce the amount of penalties drawn against them, a total of 21 penalty minutes were accrued yesterday.
Keys for Victory:
– Shut down Phil Kessel, he is a tried and true scorer and keeping him off the score sheet makes things a lot easier
– Keep up the offensive pressure, score early and score often to deflate the home crowd
– Set the tone, get out there and be physical from the get-go
The puck will be dropped at 7 p.m. and the game will be aired on MSG.