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After trouncing the Bruins 5-1 in Toronto, and then 10-2 in Boston in back-to-back games to start off the New Year (and the 2nd half of their season), the Leafs return home to the Air Canada Center Saturday night to face the Eastern Conference leading Buffalo Sabres. (7:00PM ET, CBC)

Related Topic: http://www.hockeyforum.com/toronto-maple-leafs/6426-leafs-win-10-2-over-bruins.html

Alexander Steen, finally starting to find the twine as of late, scored 3 goals for his first career hattrick and added 2 assists for a career high 5-Point night.

Paul Maurice said:
''There has never been a doubt about his talent. There were questions about other parts of his game, but he has worked hard to improve those.''
Other Leafs had big nights as well, namely Bates Battaglia who scored 2 goals, the struggling Matt Stajan who added in 2 goals and 2 assists for 4 Points, and call-up Boyd Devereaux, with 3 assists.

Kris Newbury and Chad Kilger also scored for the Leafs, along with Center Johnny Pohl. Pohl seems to have found a spot for himself in the Toronto line-up, his play as of late likely ensuring so. His 3 Points in the game (1G, 2A) have given him 10 Points in his last 9 games (4G, 6A).

Mats Sundin continues to lead the team in Points with 39 in 35 games played (18G, 21A) including 18 in his last 9 games.

Maple Leafs Winger Darcy Tucker, who leads the team in Goals with 19 in 39 games, missed Thursday's game in Boston with his injured foot being too swollen to fit into his skate. Toronto was also again without Centermen Kyle Wellwood and Michael Peca, and Winger Alexei Ponikarovsky. Wellwood is probable to start against the Sabres tonight.

Related Topic: http://www.hockeyforum.com/toronto-maple-leafs/5773-peca-out-three-months-knee-injury.html
Related Topic: http://www.hockeyforum.com/toronto-maple-leafs/5680-leafs-ponikarovsky-hurt-practice.html
Related Topic: http://www.hockeyforum.com/toronto-maple-leafs/5633-wellwood-leaves-practice-injury.html

Bates Battaglia emphasized the need for the call-ups and grinders on the team with less ice-time to continue to step up in the absence of the injured Leafs.

Bates Battaglia said:
''We have to take advantage of the ice time we get with the guys out of the lineup. Everybody needs to contribute.''
Goaltender Andrew Raycroft was again solid in net, stopping 29 of 31 of shots against his former club. He is now 17-12-4 and has a 2.98 Goals Against Average and .897 Save Percentage after 33 games played.

The Leafs, who were 1 point behind Boston for the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, are now ahead of them by 3 Points, and have a 19-17-5 record for 44 Points after 42 games.

The Sabres lead the Leafs by a whopping 17 points for 1st in the Northeast Division and the Eastern Conference.

Buffalo is coming off of 2 straight losses, but for the most part are seeming to win find their game again, winning 4 in a row before the losses to Ottawa (their 3rd of the season to the Senators) and Pittsburgh (the first loss at home to the Penguins since November of 2003).

Recently returning Buffalo defenceman, Henrik Tallinder, will tonight's game due to an ankle injury (2 weeks)

Related Topic: http://www.hockeyforum.com/buffalo-sabres/6380-sabres-tallinder-out-ankle-sprain.html

Sophomore Thomas Vanek continues to lead the team in Goals with 22 in 41 games, and Daniel Briere continues to lead the team in points with 47 in 41 games (15G, 32A).

Goaltender Ryan Miller is 21-6-2 after 30 games played, and has a 2.66 Goals against Average and .915 save Percentage for the 29-8-3 Sabres team.

Tonight's game is the 3rd of 8 meetings between the two clubs, with Toronto winning the first 4-1 in Buffalo, and the Sabres winning the second 7-4, again at the HSBC Arena.
 

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Leafs battle Sabres at home

Sports Network/TSN.ca
1/6/2007 11:50:25 AM


(Sports Network) - The Toronto Maple Leafs hope to build on the momentum of back-to-back victories this evening, when they welcome the Eastern Conference- leading Buffalo Sabres to Air Canada Centre.

The Maple Leafs are coming off a very successful home-and-home series against Boston, as they won both tests in the set and outscored the Bruins, 15-3, in the process.

Toronto completely outmanned the Bruins in Thursday's finale, posting a 10-2 triumph in Beantown. Alexander Steen ripped Boston for a five-point night with a hat trick and two assists to lead the Leafs at TD Banknorth Garden.

Andrew Raycroft stopped 29 shots for the Maple Leafs, who scored 10 goals in a game for the first time since 1998. Bates Battaglia scored twice for Toronto, Matt Stajan notched two goals and registered two assists, and John Pohl had a goal and two assists in the win.

Darcy Tucker will not play as his left foot is too swollen to fit into a skate while Kyle Wellwood continues to be day-to-day with a hip flexor/groin problem.

"We just don't know how many days." head coach Paul Maurice said of Wellwood.

The Leafs, who are 10-9-3 as the host this year, begin a brief two-game homestand tonight. They will also welcome Carolina on Tuesday.

Buffalo, which leads the Northeast Division with 61 points, has lost its last two games. The Sabres welcomed the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday and were handed a 4-2 setback. Evgeni Malkin scored the game-deciding goal at the tail end of the second period and added an assist to lift the Pens at HSBC Arena.

FULL STORY
 

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Discussion Starter #3
If the Leafs show up, it should be a great game.

It usually is between Buffalo and Toronto, now that's a rivalry.
 

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Buffalo 2 @ Toronto 0

04:18
DMITRI KALININ, Slap Shot - Assists: JASON POMINVILLE and DANIEL BRIERE

39 seconds later

04:57
CHRIS DRURY, Wrist Shot - Assists: ALES KOTALIK
 

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END OF 1ST PERIOD:

SCORING SUMMARY
1st Period
04:18 DMITRI KALININ, Slap Shot - Assists: JASON POMINVILLE and DANIEL BRIERE
04:57 CHRIS DRURY, Wrist Shot - Assists: ALES KOTALIK
17:49 CARLO COLAIACOVO, Wrist Shot - Assists: KRIS NEWBURY and MATT STAJAN

PENALTY SUMMARY
1st Period
12:08 AFINOGENOV, M. : Cross checking - 2 min
12:08 MCCABE, B. : Cross checking - 2 min
15:21 NUMMINEN, T. : Holding - 2 min
 

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GOAL !!!!!!!!

DANIEL BRIERE !!!! Afinogenov and Vanek with the assists

BUFFALO 3 - 1 TORONTO
 

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PENALTY to TORONTO (GILL, H. : Tripping - 2 min) !!!!

Buffalo 5 on 4

EARLIER:

03:50 ONDRUS, B. : Fighting (maj) - 5 min
03:50 MAIR, A. : Fighting (maj) - 5 min
 

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Goal !!!!!!!!

Buffalo Scores 4-2 Lead

Ales Kotalik Top Shelf Where Momma Hides The Cookies !!!! :d
 

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Penalty to Derek Roy (2:00 Tripping)

1:17 left in the 2nd when Penalty Occured
 

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END OF THE 2ND PERIOD:

2nd Period

03:47 DANIEL BRIERE, Backhand - Assists: THOMAS VANEK and MAXIM AFINOGENOV
12:53 PPG - ALEX STEEN, Wrist Shot - Assists: BRYAN MCCABE and TOMAS KABERLE
18:17 ALES KOTALIK, Wrist Shot - Assists: CHRIS DRURY and PAUL GAUSTAD

2nd Period
00:52 LYDMAN, T. : Interference - 2 min
03:50 ONDRUS, B. : Fighting (maj) - 5 min
03:50 MAIR, A. : Fighting (maj) - 5 min
04:35 GILL, H. : Tripping - 2 min
07:06 SUNDIN, M. : Hooking - 2 min
12:18 ROY, D. : Holding - 2 min
12:37 NUMMINEN, T. : Holding - 2 min
18:43 ROY, D. : Tripping - 2 min
 
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