Don Granato is well aware that the sole game of the season for Toronto Maple Leafs. Toronto Maple Leafs will be not a typical February event. Fans from both teams will line KeyBank Center and make their voices heard, creating an thrilling atmosphere.
However, it won’t be any different from the time that it was the time that New York Islanders were in town to play Ryan Miller Night, or when the Sabres came to visit the Bruins during a game-like New Year’s Eve evening.
“I am confident that our men have done well in extremely chaotic environments during the year.” Granato said. “So I’m sure that our team are excited about this.”
Here are five things to know in the meantime.
1. The line-up
Jacob Bryson will join the defense, replacing Kale Clague who is struggling from daily after he left practice on Monday due to an injury to the lower part of his body. Ukko-Pekka-Lukkonen should make his debut in goal.
2. Snapshot of the matchup
This is the third of three games with two teams, the Sabres as well as the Maple Leafs this season. Toronto defeated Buffalo 5-2 in Toronto on November 19. The teams will face off on March 13, Monday in Toronto.
The Sabres are 5-4-1 in their 10 last match against Maple Leafs and 5-4-1 in their last 10 home games.
It’s the 224th time in all time in the history of Buffalo as well as Toronto. Buffalo is averaging a 120-75-28 series record. The Sabres are 73-30-9 in home games in the series against Maple Leafs all-time.
Buffalo has scored a victory in three of its four matches against Toronto and outscored Toronto Maple Leafs 17-10 in that period. The Sabres have won against Toronto Maple Leafs in three of their four games at home, and have scored at or above the equivalent of four points in all those games.
Kyle Okposo has recorded eight points (4+4) in his eight most recent games against Toronto with more than one goal in his six consecutive matches against his team the Maple Leafs.
In his 11 games played in which he played The Maple Leafs in his career, Rasmus Dahlin has notched 11 points (3+8).
Alex Tuch has earned three points (1+2) in his two previous game against Toronto and the possibility of scoring a point tonight will give Tuch an unbeaten streak of three games with the Maple Leafs.
Dylan Cozens has tallied four points (0+4) in his five career matches against the Maple Leafs.
In his last four five encounters with Toronto, Tage Thompson has scored one goal. Thompson has recorded 6 points (4+2) during that time.
3. Cozens looks to extend hot stretch
Cozens has scored the score of 40 points (16+24) in his recent 40 games, with five scoring (3+2) within his past four games. With a point the game tonight, Cozens will be able to record his second streak that has five or more games in the current season. He will be joining Dahlin, Jeff Skinner, Thompson and Tuch as the only Sabres skaters who have recorded multiple streaks of points that span at least five games during 2022-23.
4. A review of what’s going on in the Wild Card race
The Sabres are four points back of that of the Florida Panthers for the second Wild Card position with six games remaining.
If you’re a fan of the scoreboard it’s the Capitals play the Red Wings tonight and the Islanders play their counterparts the Winnipeg Jets tomorrow.
5. The next games are in store
After tonight’s match, the Sabres will conclude the week with a 2-game time in Florida. They’ll play their opponents the Lightning on Thursday, and then against the Panthers for Friday.
Buffalo’s next home game will be next Sunday with the Washington Capitals at 1 p.m.