The Toronto Maple Leafs, winners of seven of their past eight games, travel to Buffalo Saturday to meet a surprisingly competitive Sabres team. The game features a goaltending matchup of Joseph Woll against Aaron Dell.
The Maple Leafs are coming off a 2-1 overtime win against the Calgary Flames Friday. Auston Matthews scored the overtime winner, William Nylander had a pair of assists, and Jack Campbell stopped 30 of 31 shots for the victory.
With the Maple Leafs playing on the second game of a back-to-back situation, Toronto should be pushing forward with the same lineup, except for in goal, where Joseph Woll is set to make his NHL debut.
Woll, 23, was a third-round pick of the Maple Leafs in 2016. He played three seasons at Boston College, posting a .911 save percentage in 101 games. Woll is in his third season in the American Hockey League and has a .885 save percentage in 50 games for the Marlies.
That is not necessarily the track record of an NHL-ready prospect but, as Sheldon Keefe noted in Friday’s post-game comments, sometimes injury creates an opportunity. With Petr Mrazek out, Joseph Woll is getting his opportunity.
William Nylander, who had two assists against Calgary Friday, leads the Maple Leafs with 15 points (7 G, 8 A) in 15 games.
Bunting – Matthews – Nylander
Kerfoot – Tavares – Marner
Engvall – Kampf – Kase
Ritchie – Spezza – Simmonds
Rielly – Brodie
Muzzin – Holl
Sandin – Liljegren
The Buffalo Sabres were expected to be one of the league’s worst teams coming into the season. However, they got off to a surprisingly strong start before falling into a five-game winless skid that they snapped with Friday’s 3-2 win vs. Edmonton. That leaves the Sabres with a 6-5-2 record through their first 13 games.
Rasmus Asplund is the Sabres’ leading scorer with 10 points (4 G, 6 A). The team has a very balanced attack, though, with 11 players recording at least five points this season.
The Sabres are missing some key players with injuries. Winger Victor Olofsson and centre Casey Mittelstadt, as well as defenceman Henri Jokiharju, are all out of the lineup.
Veteran goaltender Craig Anderson is also injured. Since Dustin Tokarski played against Edmonton Friday, that opens the door for Aaron Dell to start for the Sabres.
Dell, 32, is a former Maple Leaf, officially. He signed with Toronto in October of 2020 and before the season started in January 2021, he was claimed off waivers. He has a .906 save percentage in 114 career games.
Here are expected lines for the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday:
Skinner – Thompson – Asplund
Girgensons – Eakin – Okposo
Caggiula – Cozens – Hinostroza
Bjork – Ruotsalainen – Hayden
Dahlin – Pysyk
Bryson – Miller
Butcher – Hagg
Watch on TSN and listen on TSN 1050 in Toronto.
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