Expert Cappers Picks
National Hockey League
Preview
Toronto at Buffalo
When: 7:00 PM ET, Wednesday, March 20, 2019
Where: KeyBank Center, Buffalo, New York

The Toronto Maple Leafs' lead for third place in the Atlantic Division is shrinking while their deficit for the second spot is growing, thanks to their current slump. They look to better both situations and salvage the finale of their three-game road trip when they face the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday.

Toronto has dropped four of its last five contests after suffering a 3-0 setback in Nashville on Tuesday. The Maple Leafs, who rallied from a 5-2 deficit against Philadelphia to post the lone win in that stretch, had their lead over Montreal for third in the Atlantic reduced to eight points and fell six behind Boston for second with nine games left. Buffalo put an end to its seven-game slide (0-6-1) on Sunday as it edged St. Louis 4-3 in a shootout after squandering a two-goal lead in regulation. Sam Reinhart scored the decisive goal in the bonus format for the Sabres, who are 13 points out of the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference with 10 games remaining.

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

ABOUT THE MAPLE LEAFS (43-25-5): John Tavares has been kept off the scoresheet in two of his last three games after collecting nine points (three goals) over his previous six contests. The 28-year-old center has reached the 40-goal plateau for the first time in the NHL and is seven points away from matching the career high of 86 he set in 2014-15 with the New York Islanders. Auston Matthews had his four-game point streak snapped on Tuesday, keeping him two shy of 200 for his career.

ABOUT THE SABRES (31-32-9): Rookie Rasmus Dahlin halted his eight-game point drought on Sunday with an assist, which tied him with Bobby Orr (38) for the second-most points by an 18-year-old defenseman in NHL history. Evan Rodrigues also put an end to a lengthy dry spell in the win over the Blues, scoring his first goal in 19 contests as he last tallied on Feb. 7. Reinhart's shootout-winning tally was his third of the season, tying him for the league lead and putting him one away from matching the franchise single-season record set in 2006-07 by Ales Kotalik.

OVERTIME

1. Sabres LW Jeff Skinner's next goal will be his career-high 38th of the season, eclipsing the mark he set in 2016-17 with Carolina.

2. Toronto D Ron Hainsey has been held without a point in five of his last six games, and needs two to hit the 300 plateau.

3. Reinhart is one point shy of 200 for his career and RW Kyle Okposo is one assist away from 300 while C Jack Eichel needs two goals to reach 100 in the NHL.

PREDICTION: Maple Leafs 4, Sabres 1
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Day Night Div
Toronto 43-25-5-0 L2 22-14-1-0 21-11-4-0 1-2-0-0 42-23-5-0 12-8-3-0
Buffalo 31-32-6-3 W1 20-12-4-0 11-20-2-3 11-3-0-0 20-29-6-3 9-9-3-1
Last Meeting
Toronto Buffalo
Date Away Home Shots Saves PP Shots Saves PP
3/2/19 BUF 2 TOR 5 32 35 0-2 37 27 0-2
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Total Points Player  
Toronto M. Marner 3
Buffalo Z. Girgensons 1
Goals Player  
Toronto M. Marner 1
Buffalo J. Pominville 1
Assists Player  
Toronto M. Marner 2
Buffalo Z. Girgensons 1
Saves Player  
Toronto F. Andersen 35
Buffalo L. Ullmark 27
Season
Total Points Player  
Toronto M. Marner 93
Buffalo J. Eichel 76
Goals Player  
Toronto J. Tavares 45
Buffalo J. Skinner 40
Assists Player  
Toronto M. Marner 67
Buffalo J. Eichel 50
Saves Player  
Toronto F. Andersen 1695
Buffalo C. Hutton 1268
Quickchart Matchup
Toronto Off vs  Buffalo Def
3.55 GF
3.19 GA
32.6 Shots
32.9 Shots
43 PP
35 PK
Buffalo Off vs  Toronto Def
2.71 GF
3 GA
32.7 Shots
33.1 Shots
38 PP
35 PK