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Maple Leafs try to snap slide in clash with Sabres

The Toronto Maple Leafs will try to avoid their longest losing streak of the season when they host the rival Buffalo Sabres in tonight's battle at Air Canada Centre.

Toronto enters tonight having lost three straight, five of six and seven of its last nine contests. The rough patch has helped drop the Maple Leafs into a tie with Ottawa for the last two playoff spots in the East, while Buffalo sits just one point back in a three-way tie.

After a pair of regulation losses, the Maple Leafs were at least able to record a point in Monday's shootout loss to the visiting Los Angeles Kings. Dustin Brown scored the only goal of the shootout to give LA the 3-2 decision. On the final attempt of the shootout, Brown ripped a shot past James Reimer and off the post into the net.

John-Michael Liles and Matt Frattin each scored for the Maple Leafs, while Reimer stopped 40 shots. Reimer was 4-0-1 before suffering a head/neck injury in October, but he is just 1-3-2 since returning to the crease earlier this month.

"I feel like I've been playing well," said Reimer. "Some strange bounces tonight but I was seeing the puck well, wasn't battling it too much out there."

Toronto hasn't lost four straight since an 0-3-1 stretch from Nov. 26-Dec. 2 of last season. The Leafs, who are capping a three-game homestand tonight, have also lost four of their last five in Toronto and are 7-5-4 as the host this season.

The Leafs will have the highly-touted Nazem Kadri back tonight, as the seventh overall pick of the 2009 draft was recalled from the AHL to fill in for the injured Philippe Dupuis. Kadri, who has one assist in three games at the NHL level this season, was leading the AHL's Marlies with 22 points in 22 games.

Kadri, who has 13 points in 33 career NHL games, last played with the Leafs on Oct. 24. The winger is expected to skate on a line with Tim Connolly and Clarke MacArthur.

The Sabres, meanwhile, have lost two straight and four of their last five games. Buffalo has surrendered 12 total goals over its last two games, dropping an 8-3 decision Saturday in Pittsburgh and losing 4-1 in Ottawa on Tuesday.

Jordan Leopold netted the lone goal for the Sabres in Ottawa, while Ryan Miller made 35 saves in the loss.

"It could have been one of those nights where we could grind it out on the road, but it just didn't wind up that way," said Miller.

Sabres forwards Tyler Ennis (ankle) and Jochen Hecht (lower body) are questionable for tonight. Ennis sat out the last game, while Hecht has been sidelined for the last five contests.

Buffalo has an 8-5-0 record as the guest this year and is closing a three-game road trip tonight.

The Sabres recorded a 5-4 home win over Toronto on Dec. 16, as Buffalo opened this year's season series by ending a three-game skid against the Leafs. Toronto has taken two in a row and three of the last four encounters at the Air Canada Centre.