Found January 20, 2013 on Fox Sports:
The Toronto Maple Leafs and Buffalo Sabres each took their first steps toward putting behind a pair of disappointing seasons. If the recent matchups in Toronto are any indication, the Maple Leafs might have the better chance to win in their next game as well. While trying to get off to another strong start, they'll seek a sixth consecutive home victory over the Sabres on Monday night. Owners of the league's longest active playoff drought, Toronto hasn't made it to the postseason since 2003-04 and hasn't finished with more than 85 points in any of the past five campaigns. The Maple Leafs failed to build on 4-0-1 starts in each of the last two seasons. "We haven't made the playoffs," coach Randy Carlyle said. "When you're the butt of jokes in the hockey world, it's not fun. We take that seriously." Toronto won its season opener once again, 2-1 in Montreal on Saturday, as Ben Scrivens stopped 21 shots in his 12th NHL start. James Reimer is expected to be the Leafs' top starter this season but Scrivens was a little fresher, having played in a team-best 22 games this season for the Maple Leafs' AHL affiliate. "In a shortened season like this, we're going to have earn points on every night that we can," Scrivens said. "It's nice to start off on the right foot." Buffalo missed the playoffs for the third time in five seasons in 2011-12 despite owner Terry Pegula opening his checkbook. The Sabres got their quest to return to the postseason off to a strong start with a 5-2 win over visiting Philadelphia on Sunday. "I thought we had a good week of practice, training camp. Obviously, we wanted to start out with a win. We got that accomplished and we'll enjoy it for an hour and move on," said forward Thomas Vanek, who had Buffalo's first five-point game since Jan. 18, 2008. Vanek finished with two goals and three assists, and linemate Jason Pominville had three assists. "They spent a lot of years playing together. You go all the way back to their days in (AHL) Rochester," coach Lindy Ruff said. "Those two guys are a little bit like glue." Steve Ott also scored in his debut for Buffalo (1-0-0) and will next try to help his new team end its lengthy drought in Toronto. The Maple Leafs (1-0-0) have also earned at least one point in each of their last eight home games with the Sabres. Vanek and Pominville each had eight points (two goals, six assists) in last season's series, but Vanek had only one assist in the three games in Toronto. Reimer and Scrivens, meanwhile, each recorded a home win over the Sabres last season. Scrivens, though, also gave up a career-worst six goals in an overtime loss in Buffalo on April 3, while Reimer has done enough to earn wins in four of his last five matchups. Ryan Miller has lost in each of his last six games in Toronto, posting a 3.40 goals-against average. He's 3-6-0 with a 3.36 GAA in his last nine overall matchups with the Maple Leafs. Mikhail Grabovski has five goals and two assists in his last seven games against the Sabres. Buffalo's Ville Leino, one of the players signed with Pegula's money before last season, is doubtful to play at Air Canada Centre because of a leg injury while the Maple Leafs' Joffrey Lupul is expected to play his first game since signing a five-year contract extension.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Sabres 2, Maple Leafs 1

Ryan Miller stopped 34 shots to lead the Buffalo Sabres past the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-1 on Monday night. Miller lost his shutout bid when Nazem Kadri scored on the power play with 1:42 remaining, his second goal of the season. Toronto's Joffrey Lupul appeared to tie it seconds later with goalie Ben Scrivens on the bench, but the goal was disallowed. With Scrivens on the bench...

Rookie Scrivens delivers in Maple Leafs' victory over Canadiens

MONTREAL -- Ben Scrivens repayed the Toronto Maple Leafs' confidence in him with a winning effort that got their season off on the right foot. Phil Kessel assisted on power-play goals by Nazem Qadri and Tyler Bozak, and Scrivens made 21 saves to lead the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 2-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night at the Bell Centre. Qadri scored 4:51 in...

Leafs sign Joffrey Lupul to contract extension

Forward Joffrey Lupul has signed a five-year contract extension with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Lupul is now signed through to the 2017-18 season. Sunday's deal comes a day after Lupul was picked as one of the Leafs' alternate captains. The 29-year-old played 66 games last season and ranked second on the team in goals (25), assists (42), points (67) and power-play goals ...

Leino misses Sabres season opener

Buffalo Sabres forward Ville Leino is missing the team's regular-season opener against the Philadelphia Flyers because of a lower body injury. Listed by the team as day to day, Leino missed practice Saturday a day after he was hurt in practice. Leino was well enough to join his teammates, coaches and Sabres owner Terry Pegula to greet fans in the First Niagara Center lobby...

Mike Augello: Locking Up Lupul Risky Yet Prudent; Scrivens Starts Again In Home Opener

The Maple Leafs took care of one of their biggest question marks of the upcoming offseason by signing soon-to-be unrestricted free agent winger Joffrey Lupul to a five year contract extension on Sunday. The contract totaling $26.25 Million was a result of negotiations between the Leafs and the 29 year old Fort Saskatchewan native that began before the lockout last September....

Sabres GM Regier receives extension

The Buffalo Sabres are keeping Darcy Regier around as general manager. Team owner Terry Pegula announced Saturday that the Sabres have extended Regier's contract. Buffalo opens its lockout-shortened season Sunday at home against Philadelphia. Regier, entering his 16th season as Sabres general manager, has overseen a franchise that has reached the Eastern Conference finals four...

Breaking: Sabres Extend Contract Of GM Darcy Regier

To quote Terry Pegula, “Darcy ain’t going no where!” The Buffalo Sabres have announced that Darcy Regier has agreed to an extension to remain on as the team’s general manager. The news was announced during a press conference held by the Sabres this afternoon. Reiger is entering his 13th season as Sabres general manager, the longest tenured  GM in Sabres history. He’s also...

Culture Change Paying Early Dividends For Buffalo Sabres

Picture courtesy of Bill Wippert/Getty Images. By: Connor Nielen (@ConnorNielen) For all of Ryan Miller’s career domination versus Toronto (a 27-14-0 record, .922 SV%, 2.44 GAA coming into this season), he found himself surprisingly unable to lead his Buffalo Sabres to victory at the Air Canada Centre on any of the team’s three attempts during the 2011-12 campaign. Playing the...

GARTH: Vanek 5 Point Game

Thomas Vanek is a one man scoring machine today. HDTV with two goals and three assists today. His linemates, Pominville and Hodgson have been full value in the first game of the season. Pomemer with two assists, and, Hodgson with a goal. Hodgson has been Buffalo's best player today. His skating has been terrific. His play making has been remarkable. I'm...

GARTH: Leino Iffy vs. Flyers

Pat Kaleta may just be the replacement for Ville Leino on Sunday, in the event that the former Flyer cannot play against his former team. Leino was hobbled by an existing leg injury (believed to be an ankle or groin) on Friday. He didn't skate with the team on Saturday morning. Ruff that that Leino will skate on Sunday morning at First Niagara Center. If the leg is fine,...

Vanek helps lead Sabres past Flyers

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Thomas Vanek hardly looked like a man who hadn't played NHL hockey in nine months. Vanek had five points (two goals, three assists) to lead the Buffalo Sabres to a 5-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday in the First Niagara Center. Tyler Myers scored the winning goal with just over five minutes remaining and Cody Hodgson gave the Sabres some breathing...

Drew Stafford vs. Scott Hartnell

These kinds of hits have to be banned from hockey. Buffalo forward Tyler Ennis is 157 pounds soaking wet, and Flyers forward Scott Hartnell is a bull at 210 pounds, and he buries Ennis from behind.  No penalty on the play. You have to give former Fighting Sioux forward Drew Stafford credit for answering the call. 

Flyers-Sabres Preview

Despite his team missing the playoffs for a third time in five seasons, Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula maintained his faith in his current personnel - namely general manager Darcy Regier and coach Lindy Ruff. Buffalo begins its quest to return to the postseason Sunday when it hosts the Philadelphia Flyers, who have ended the Sabres' attempts to reach the playoffs in each...

Mike Augello: Leafs Killer "K’s" Put Kibosh On Habs

The game was hardly played at top speed, players were missing passes and making errors that they normally would not make, but there are very few hockey fans complaining that the game they love his back. The Toronto Maple Leafs took advantage of numerous opportunities with the man advantage, scoring power-play goals in the first and second period and holding on for a 2-1 victory...

Sabres Defeat Maple Leafs 2-1: Immediate Reactions

(Photo by Graig Abel/NHLI via Getty Images) The Buffalo Sabres got their second win of the young season in as many days with a 2-1 win over host Toronto in the Maple Leafs’ home opener on Monday night.  The win moves Buffalo to 2-0 on the season. Buffalo’s top line once again shined as Cody Hodgson, Thomas Vanek, and Jason Pominville all got on the score sheet once again. Hodgson...
NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.