St. Louis Blues' Kevin Shattenkirk handles the puck during the first period in Game 5 of a first-round NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoff series against the Los Angeles Kings, Wednesday, May 8, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Elliotte Friedman speculates on possible Canadian destinations for pending UFA defenceman Kevin Shattenkirk, Morgan Rielly’s ankle injury set at “day-to-day,” Leafs overcome early deficit to beat the Sabres, and more in the links.

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30 Thoughts: Could a Canadian team land Kevin Shattenkirk? (Sportsnet)
Shattenkirk made it known he would not consider Edmonton long-term, but would he do it for a few months as the Oilers chase the playoffs? Why not? Montreal and Toronto would also make sense as teams that need a short-term burst. Think about it: Those clubs (or anyone else who would be interested) get a good rental. Shattenkirk gets a situation where he’s going to play a big role and make himself look even better for his upcoming free agency. (Although, as I’ve said before, other teams are convinced he wants to play for the Rangers.) Shattenkirk breaking out with Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner or Connor McDavid would be fun to see.

Game #42 Review: Toronto Maple Leafs 4 vs. Buffalo Sabres 3 (MLHS)
This was the first time the Leafs have won a game not only while trailing by two but after trailing at all following the first period. This young group is slowly checking off the boxes and eliminating many of the hesitancies about their ability to win games despite their average age and collective experience level. They’ve given up multi-goal leads and won anyway (Detroit, Ottawa). They’ve won a couple of back-to-backs. They’ve won a couple of games with a backup goalie in net. And they’ve now overcome an early multi-goal deficit.

Mike Babcock on Morgan Rielly’s injury: “We’re going to find out who wants to play more right now” (MLHS)
Can you quantify how big of a loss Morgan is, or how much he means to this team? Babcock: Next man up, right? Get him freshened up and he’ll be better when he gets back. Let’s get going. Someone else gets an opportunity. We’re going to find out who wants to play more right now.

Morgan Rielly day-to-day with lower body injury (The Athletic)
Maple Leafs defenceman Morgan Rielly appears to have dodged a bullet after an injury in the first period of Tuesday’s 4-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres. “Whenever you go down awkwardly, and you don’t know what happened, you get a bit concerned,” Rielly said. “We have a good staff here and they took good care of it.” Rielly is day-to-day with a lower body injury after his right leg got locked up with the leg of Sabres forward William Carrier. The defenceman took one shift after the injury but left the game and did not return. “You can walk around all you want, but you don’t know what it’s like until you skate,” Rielly explained. “When I was skating around it felt pretty normal, but once I started skating around at full speed, certain things didn’t work the way they should.”

Leafs play through loss of Rielly to beat Sabres (
Picking up the puck behind the Sabres’ net in the second period, Zach Hyman intended to throw it on net. But screaming for the disc from the slot was Matthews, so Hyman delivered a superb backhanded pass to set up Matthews’ 22nd goal of the season. The only Maple Leafs rookies in history with more scores are Wendel Clark (34), Daniel Marois (31) and Sergei Berezin (25).

Maple Leafs hope Morgan Rielly injury isn’t too serious (Toronto Sun)
“You can hear the excitement across the border about where they’re at,” Sabres’ coach Dan Bylsma said of the Leafs. “When you look at where our division is at, a group of teams muddled between 48 points (where the Leafs were) and where we’re at, that’s pretty much what I expected from every (team). The Leafs are on top, but it’s not a surprise to me with five or six teams in that area, all fighting for points and position.”

Babcock’s Leafs way ahead of schedule (
The Maple Leafs also are one of the youngest teams with an average age of 25.7. They have eight rookies in Matthews, Marner, William Nylander, Connor Brown, Zach Hyman, Nikita Zaitsev, Nikita Soshnikov and Frederik Gauthier. Although these kids have been impressive and have exhibited no signs they feel the heat, how will they handle the stress down the stretch?

Leafs’ Auston Matthews vs. Sabres’ Jack Eichel could be hockey’s next great rivalry (National Post)
Dan Bylsma understands how important the role of frequent meetings is in the building of a rivalry. Indeed, during his time behind the Pittsburgh bench, he had a ringside seat to the evolution of Sid vs. Ovie. “Crosby-Ovechkin is such a good example of that,” Bylsma said Tuesday. “Throughout their careers they’ve played each other at least five, six times a season plus a couple of times in the playoffs. And before each and every meeting, there is such an anticipation of what might happen, of who supposedly will get the better of the other guy this time around.”

Leafs’ Jake Gardiner making the most of his opportunity, stats say (National Post)
Through 41 games in 2016-17, Gardiner not only is on pace for career highs in goals (12), assists (32) and points (44), he’s also posting superb puck possession numbers. The Maple Leafs own 53.2% of the 5-on-5 shot attempts when Gardiner, a top-20 possession player for his position, is between the boards.