Leafs/Sabres – Pre-Game & GFWE Game #6 Predictions

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    The Leafs make the dreaded trip down south tonight to face the Buffalo Sabres at the HSBC Arena.  Fresh off an ugly game against the Coyotes, Toronto will be looking to crack the seemingly impenetrable wall that is Ryan Miller.  It is perhaps a mixed blessing that the Sabres were just shutout by the Senators and Brian Elliott.  On one hand, that is the third time they have been blanked in the last few weeks and some of Buffalo’s forwards are finding it difficult to contribute consistently.  On the other hand, we all know how well the Sabres play against the Leafs (currently: 7-game winning streak) and you have to be wary of an offensive explosion.  Vesa Toskala will start tonight in net, with Jonas Gustavsson likely getting the nod tomorrow.

    The big stories for Toronto going into this game are the lineup changes they’ll be making.  Viktor Stalberg draws back in after an extended stay with the Marlies in which he emerged as their leading scorer.  He practiced as an extra on the fourth line yesterday, but you’ll likely see him skating alongside Grabovski and Hagman at some point tonight.  The reasoning behind management’s decision to bring up the Swedish winger is pretty clear.  As Ron Wilson put it, “…I want a little more speed in the lineup, especially with a couple of games this weekend.”

    Sophomore defenseman Luke Schenn will also return to the lineup tonight in lieu of Jeff Finger.  The loss against Phoenix is the best thing that could have happened for the young blueliner, as he wasn’t going to be seeing any time if the Leafs kept winning.  It will be up to him to play HIS game tonight: good decisions, strong plays, and some physicality.  Wilson said exactly this yesterday, “I expect him to have a good game tomorrow night, to be more aggressive  than he has been and get his feet moving right off the bat.”

    The Leafs will be in tough against Ryan Miller.  He’s thrown down a 1.14 GAA in Buffalo’s 7-game winning streak over Toronto.  This includes a shutout on November 30th.  The Leafs will have to get back on their game early, running a high-tempo forecheck and getting some quality chances on net.  “To play Buffalo, we can’t turn pucks over,” Wilson said. “We have to get as many pucks in front of Ryan as we can and settle down and play our game.”

    Get F’ed With Ed – Game #6

    You all know the drill by now! Make your predictions in this thread before game time (7:30 PM).  The standings are tight across the lower half, with a few leaders separating themselves from the pack as follows:

    1. Zoonpolitikon, leafsFTW, Carltonthebear, mapleaf31 (8 points)
    2. JasonTrent, frito10 (7 points)
    3. modernhipster, Scooter (6 points)

    -With many people sitting at 5, 4, 3 and even 2 points, this contest is still very much up for grabs!

    -A stunning 96% of contestants picked the Leafs to win Monday against the Sens.  Hopefully some of you played a little Proline.

    -Sadly, the 82% of you that chose Toronto to pick up another victory on Wednesday were mistaken.

    Cheers,

    Nik