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National Hockey League
Preview
Toronto at Buffalo
When: 7:00 PM ET, Saturday, March 25, 2017
Where: KeyBank Center, Buffalo, New York

Rookie William Nylander and the Toronto Maple Leafs have been riding high of late, and their success is showing in the standings. Toronto is hoping Nylander continues his torrid pace as it looks to move closer to second place in the Atlantic Division when it visits the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday.

The Maple Leafs are five points behind second-place Ottawa in the Atlantic but climbed three ahead of Boston for third by extending their point streak to five games (4-0-1) with Thursday's 4-2 triumph over New Jersey - a contest in which the 20-year-old Nylander set a franchise rookie record by registering a point in his 10th consecutive game as he notched a goal and an assist. Buffalo began its three-game homestand Tuesday with a 3-1 loss to Pittsburgh, marking the fifth straight contest in which it scored fewer than three goals. The Sabres, who likely will miss the playoffs for the sixth consecutive season, are paced offensively by Jack Eichel (50 points) despite the fact the 20-year-old center has played in 11 fewer games than second-leading scorer Ryan O'Reilly (48). Buffalo will be without its highest-scoring defenseman on Saturday as Rasmus Ristolainen (44 points) will begin serving his three-game suspension for his hit on Jake Guentzel that resulted in a concussion for the Penguins' young center.

TV: 7 p.m. ET, CBC (Toronto), MSG (Buffalo)

ABOUT THE MAPLE LEAFS (35-23-15): Another franchise rookie record is in jeopardy as Mitch Marner recorded his 40th assist of the season on Thursday to match the mark set in 1943-44 by Gus Bodnar. Tyler Bozak also set up a goal against the Devils for his 50th point of 2016-17, establishing a new career high. Leo Komarov is one point shy of 100 in the NHL after recording an assist Thursday while Nazem Kadri will be playing in his 400th career game when he takes the ice against Buffalo.

ABOUT THE SABRES (30-32-12): Although he probably won't be appearing in the postseason, Brian Gionta figures to hit a few milestones before 2016-17 concludes. The 38-year-old captain is two away from 1,000 career games and needs three assists for 300 in the NHL. Buffalo hopes to have three injured players back in the lineup against Toronto as Kyle Okposo (ribs, 10 games), William Carrier (knee, 24) and defenseman Dmitry Kulikov (neck, eight) began participating in practice on Thursday.

OVERTIME

1. Should Kulikov play on Saturday, it will be his 500th career game.

2. Nylander has collected four goals and eight assists during his point streak.

3. Buffalo could have another defenseman return from injury versus Toronto as coach Dan Bylsma stated Cody Franson, Justin Falk or Taylor Fedun may take part in Friday's practice and be ready to play the following day.

PREDICTION: Maple Leafs 4, Sabres 3
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Day Night Div
Toronto 35-23-7-8 W3 19-10-3-4 16-13-4-4 1-0-0-1 34-23-7-7 15-7-2-1
Buffalo 30-32-6-6 L1 17-13-3-3 13-19-3-3 6-4-0-0 24-28-6-6 10-10-0-4
Last Meeting
Toronto Buffalo
Date Away Home Shots Saves PP Shots Saves PP
2/11/17 BUF 3 TOR 1 44 20 1-3 23 43 1-1
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Total Points Player  
Toronto T. Bozak 1
Buffalo J. Eichel 3
Goals Player  
Toronto M. Marner 1
Buffalo E. Kane 2
Assists Player  
Toronto T. Bozak 1
Buffalo J. Eichel 3
Saves Player  
Toronto F. Andersen 20
Buffalo R. Lehner 43
Season
Total Points Player  
Toronto A. Matthews 63
Buffalo J. Eichel 52
Goals Player  
Toronto A. Matthews 34
Buffalo E. Kane 27
Assists Player  
Toronto M. Marner 44
Buffalo R. Ristolainen 39
Saves Player  
Toronto F. Andersen 1811
Buffalo R. Lehner 1702
Quickchart Matchup
Toronto Off vs  Buffalo Def
3.07 GF
2.81 GA
32.2 Shots
34.3 Shots
51 PP
50 PK
Buffalo Off vs  Toronto Def
2.45 GF
2.82 GA
30.2 Shots
32.8 Shots
52 PP
38 PK