January 21st Pregame BUF vs TOR
Buffalo Sabres (1-0-0) at Toronto Maple Leafs (1-0-0)
Arena: Air Canada Center
Puck Drop: 7:00 PM
TV: Sportsnet Radio: Fan 590
Last Season: (3-2-1)
Coming of a season opening win (2-1) against Montreal, the Leafs come home to the Air Canada Center for their home opener. At the other end of the rink will be another Northeastern division rival in the Buffalo Sabres. The Sabres are coming off a 5-2 win against the Philadelphia Flyers yesterday afternoon. Thomas Vanek had 5 points, and usually lights the lamp against the Leafs, putting up 8 points in 6 games against them last year. On the Leafs side of things, keep an eye on Phil Kessel as he assisted on both Leaf goals in the opener, and last year he scored 6 points in 6 games against the Sabres. Important to note is that the home team won every game last year, so lets hope that trend continues.
Battle of the Young Guns:
Nazem Kadri’s first game of the season was pretty much as good as he could have hoped for. He showed some jam, drew a penalty, and of course scored the opening goal of the game. It should be interesting to see how he does compared to Buffalo’s own dynamic center, Mikhail Grigorenko. Grigorenko was excellent for Russia at the WJC, and this will be Leaf fans first glance at Grigorenko, a player, who if he pans out, will be a thorn in our side for years to come.
Last year Buffalo scored 7 powerplay goals against the Leafs and the boys in blue and white scored 3 against the Sabres all year. There’s no doubt that special teams can be the difference, in what are often some close and hard fought games. In the season opener the Leafs scored both their goals on the powerplay and killed off 4 out of 5 penalties. Buffalo meanwhile, went 3 for 8 on the powerplay and 2 for 3 on the PK.
Coming off the signing of a new 5 year deal worth 26.25 million dollars, it will be interesting to see if Check out the postgame shortly after the game is completed.