Maple Leafs take on Sabres in home opener
The Toronto Maple Leafs try to make their Air Canada Centre opener a successful one on Monday night as they look to extend a home winning streak over the rival Buffalo Sabres.
Monday will mark the Maple Leafs' 95th home opener in franchise history and the storied franchise is 44-32-3 with 15 ties all-time in its first home game of the season.
Toronto has won its past two home openers and looks to extend that streak against the Sabres, who the Maple Leafs beat in all three meetings at the Air Canada Centre a season ago. Buffalo has lost five straight trips to Toronto overall, but did win all three home meetings with the Leafs in 2011-12.
The Maple Leafs, hoping to end a franchise record seven-season playoff drought, began their shortened season with a victory over the rival Montreal Canadiens on Saturday. Ben Scrivens got the start in net over James Reimer and posted 21 saves in the win.
"It was great out there tonight," said Scrivens. "I was fortunate to play a game out here last year, and the atmosphere was outstanding again this year. It's great to see the fans come back and support us. We all know that hockey is not the same without fan support."
Tyler Bozak and Nazem Kadri both scored a power-play goal, while Phil Kessel assisted on both tallies.
Joffrey Lupul did not register a point, but did finish with four shots and four hits. He then signed a five-year contract extension with Toronto on Sunday after notching 25 goals and 42 assists in 66 games last season.
Behind a career game from Thomas Vanek, the Sabres won their first game of the season on Sunday, knocking off the visiting Philadelphia Flyers 5-2. Vanek had a hand in all five goals, scoring twice and notching three assists for a personal-best five points.
In his past 11 games dating back to last season, Vanek has notched five goals and 11 assists.
Jason Pominville also had three assists, while Steve Ott, Cody Hodgson and Tyler Myers all scored for the Sabres, who went 3-for-6 on the power play. Ryan Miller stopped 27-of-29 shots.
"It definitely feels good to start the season with a win, especially since it's going to be a quick season," said Myers. "The fans have been pretty restless here the last few months so it was nice to get this for them, too."
Buffalo forward Ville Leino missed the game with a lower body injury and is doubtful for Monday's game.
Vanek has 45 points in 44 career games against the Maple Leafs, notching two goals and six assists in the six meetings last season.