|1:00 PM PT2:00 PM MT3:00 PM CT4:00 PM ET21:00 GMT5:00 2:00 PM MST4:00 PM EST1:00 UAE (+1)16:00 ET19:00 BRT, November 29, 2019
KeyBank Center, Buffalo, New York Attendance: 19,070
Maple Leafs, on track after coaching change, visit Sabres
The Toronto Maple Leafs have turned the corner following the dismissal of Mike Babcock, answering a six-game skid (0-5-1) by winning three straight under new coach Sheldon Keefe.
The Maple Leafs aim to continue their winning ways on Friday when they conclude a six-game road trip with the opener of a home-and-home series against the Buffalo Sabres. The Atlantic Division rivals will reconvene in Toronto on Saturday.
"Well, you see how much the skill shows," Maple Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen said following his 25-save performance in a 6-0 romp over Detroit on Wednesday.
"I think guys are playing really free and enjoying it a lot and making really good plays. I think the more we can have the puck, the better. Teams get tired out and you saw (Wednesday) we come out hot and score a bunch of goals. I think it's hard to defend when you have that much skill and move it around that much."
It also helps that Anderson has been downright stingy at the other end, turning aside 89 of 93 shots during his last three starts. The 30-year-old Dane heads into Friday's tilt with a 10-3-0 record, one shutout, a 2.34 goals-against average and .919 save percentage in 14 career encounters with the Sabres.
Toronto, which has won its last five meetings with Buffalo, has seen previously struggling offensive-minded defenseman Tyson Barrie score in each of the last three games overall.
"We're getting everyone involved and getting more offense," the 28-year-old said after the Maple Leafs registered 54 shots against the reeling Red Wings. "Once you get a goal and a couple points, you start to feel better."
Barrie, who also had an assist on captain John Tavares' first-period goal, has recorded consecutive multi-point performances and is riding a five-game point streak (three goals, four assists).
While the Maple Leafs are having fun, smiles have been few and far between for the Sabres. Buffalo has answered a promising 9-2-1 start to the season by dropping 11 of its last 13 (2-8-3), including a 3-2 overtime decision against Calgary on Wednesday.
"I don't know what it is, but we're finding a way to not close out games," forward Jimmy Vesey said. "Maybe things are snowballing just the way it's gone.
"We've got to get back to the start of the year. When we were playing like that, there was a really good feeling in this room and we've played that style for stretches. It's a results league, and right now we have to find a way to get back."
Rookie Victor Olofsson scored in the third period to extend his point streak to five games (two goals, three assists) and boost his point total to nine (three goals, six assists) in his last 10.
Captain Jack Eichel, who set up Olofsson's goal, increased his point streak to seven games (six goals, six assists). The 23-year-old has tormented Toronto throughout his career, recording 16 points (10 goals, six assists) in 13 encounters -- including five (four goals, one assist) in four contests last season.
--Field Level Media
Updated November 28, 2019