Originally posted on FOX Sports  |  Last updated 1/20/13
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.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Rich Hill blames himself after losing no-hit bid on walk-off

Mitchell Trubisky getting first-team reps, will get time with starters Sunday

Protest movement a polarizing problem for NFL

The crazy AL wild-card race is a beautiful mess

Klay Thompson not worried about money breaking up Warriors

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Vikings troll Aaron Rodgers with tweet to ex-girlfriend Olivia Munn

Report: Young Bulls players 'can’t stand' Dwyane Wade

MLB contenders in the best shape for a World Series run

Report: Kyrie Irving told Cavs he wouldn’t report to training camp

Report: Browns looking to trade Osweiler, Colts potential destination

Rob Gronkowski has given up alcohol with new diet

The 'Please just make it to the regular season' quiz

The 20 biggest storylines heading into the 2017 NFL season

Coming through in the clutch takes on new meaning for Derek Jeter in Miami

The 'When the Doctor took the Big Apple by storm' quiz

BIG3 Referee Hotline: Calls routed from 1-900-MIX-A-LOT

The Indians are on a mission to make you pay attention whether you want to or not

15 college football coaches who are on the hot seat

Getaway Day: The playing field is leveling off as the wild-card chase takes shape

The 'Anquan Boldin calls it a career' quiz

Sports & Politics Intersect: Echoes of Charlottesville ripple across the sports world

BIG3 Playoff Preview: Can anyone stop Trilogy?

Why the SEC is not the best football conference anymore

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!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

The 'Please just make it to the regular season' quiz

Coming through in the clutch takes on new meaning for Derek Jeter in Miami

BIG3 Referee Hotline: Calls routed from 1-900-MIX-A-LOT

The 'When the Doctor took the Big Apple by storm' quiz

The Indians are on a mission to make you pay attention whether you want to or not

The 'Anquan Boldin calls it a career' quiz

Getaway Day: The playing field is leveling off as the wild-card chase takes shape

Sports & Politics Intersect: Echoes of Charlottesville ripple across the sports world

BIG3 Playoff Preview: Can anyone stop Trilogy?

The 'Bye bye to the Beast Incarnate?' quiz

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker