Leafs try to extend rare win streak vs. Sabres
(SportsNetwork.com) - After finishing last month strong, the Toronto Maple Leafs try to begin April with their longest winning streak in over three months on Wednesday evening as they visit the Buffalo Sabres.
The Maple Leafs closed out March with consecutive wins, their first two-game win streak since Feb. 21-26. After besting playoff-hopeful Ottawa on Saturday, Toronto topped a Tampa Bay Lightning club that has already secured a postseason spot 3-1 on Tuesday.
James Reimer made 40 saves and Nazem Kadri scored while assisting on a tally by Morgan Rielly. David Booth also scored.
"We're just playing a little more fundamentally sound. Less turnovers," said Kadri. "Our goalies, Reimer played terrific tonight. Obviously timely saves are huge for any team that struggles, you've got to have those big saves, and obviously we came down and scored a couple of goals. It was nice to see today."
Toronto had lost seven straight prior to this winning streak and will look to capture three consecutive wins for the first time since a six-game run from Dec. 6-16.
Jonathan Bernier is expected to get the start tonight despite having lost six straight decisions. He is 3-3-0 with a 2.62 goals against average and .897 save percentage in six career meetings with the Sabres.
Buffalo comes in looking to win two straight, having snapped a five-game slide with Monday's 4-1 decision over the Arizona Coyotes. It improved the Sabres to just 2-9-3 in their past 14 games.
Defenseman Andrej Meszaros posted his second two-goal game in a row, while fellow blueliner Rasmus Ristolainen notched a goal for a third consecutive contest when he scored into an empty net. Brian Gionta also tallied an empty- net goal and Anders Lindback made 28 saves.
"It started with forechecking," said Lindback. "We were on the right side of the puck all night."
The Sabres remain last in the NHL with 50 points four fewer than the Coyotes.
Buffalo forward Tyler Ennis missed a second game in a row due to an upper-body injury. He leads the Sabres with 19 goals and 42 points.
Lindback may start again tonight and is 2-0-1 in four games (2 starts) versus the Leafs with a 1.80 GAA and .935 save percentage.
The Sabres have lost four of their past five versus the Maple Leafs overall, but have taken four straight and 14 of their last 16 at home in this series.