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4:00 PM PT5:00 PM MT6:00 PM CT7:00 PM ET0:00 GMT8:00 5:00 PM MST7:00 PM EST4:00 UAE (+1)19:00 ET21:00 BRT, February 25, 2019
Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, Ontario  Attendance: 19,026

Sabres, Leafs start get-to-know-you stretch

Buffalo Sabres at Toronto Maple Leafs

  1. After scoring on 4.0 percent of power plays in January, worst in the NHL, the Sabres have scored on 23.5 percent of their power plays this month. That 19.5-percent increase is the largest in the league.
  2. Toronto beat Montreal on Saturday, 6-3, its 21st game scoring at least five goals this season. Only Tampa Bay (26) has more such games. The last time the Leafs scored at least five goals in as many games in a season was in 1998-99 (21 games).
  3. Toronto beat Buffalo in the first game of the season series, 4-3, on December 4. The Maple Leafs have earned a point in 12 consecutive games against the Sabres when they score at least four goals but have lost eight of the last nine matchups when scoring fewer than four goals.
  4. Sam Reinhart recorded his third career hat trick against Washington on Saturday and has points in four of his last five games. The Sabres have earned points in 14 of Reinhart's 16 multi-point games this season.
  5. Morgan Rielly assisted on two goals against the Habs and needs one more to match his career high of 46 assists. His 60 points are second most by a defenseman this season (San Jose's Brent Burns, 70) and are the most by a Leafs defenseman since Bryan McCabe (68) and Tomas Kaberle (67) in 2005-06.
  6. Mitchell Marner (21-294 days) reached the 200th and 201st points in his career with two assists on Saturday, becoming the youngest skater to reach 200 career points in a Leafs uniform since Eddie Olczyk (21-91 days) on November 15, 1987.

The Buffalo Sabres and the Toronto Maple Leafs will be seeing a lot of each other.

The Sabres will visit the Maple Leafs on Monday night and will return to Toronto on Saturday. The Maple Leafs visit the Sabres on March 20.

Both teams are coming off impressive home wins on Saturday. The Sabres defeated the Washington Capitals 5-2, while the Maple Leafs spotted the Montreal Canadiens three first-period goals before coming back for a 6-3 victory, ending a three-game losing streak.

The Sabres were in a 1-4-1 funk before beating the Capitals, a carryover from a good effort in a shootout loss at the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday.

They executed the approach that coach Phil Housley has been teaching all season -- playing tight in their own end and forcing the opposition to shoot from the outside.

"They can see it's effective," Housley said.

"Sometimes it's not pretty and we have to make the right decisions. Obviously, we tell them they have to make plays, just make the right decisions. ... Usually when we're managing the game we're going north, we're not chasing anything and using our energy in the right area."

Said Sabres captain Jack Eichel: "I thought we've done a good job the last two games for sure. We've defended when we need to; we've worked hard; we played pretty desperate. Obviously, two good teams, I thought we had two good performances, so I think that's something to be happy about for us. We've just got to build off of it."

The Sabres were concerned when Jeff Skinner, who has a team-leading 36 goals, fell to the ice clutching his left knee in the second period and was helped to the bench. He returned in the third period.

The Maple Leafs, down 3-0 after the first period against the Canadiens, had two goals from Zach Hyman, including the game-winner at 18:10 of the third period. Hyman added one of Toronto's two empty-net goals in the final minute.

It is only the second time in the long history between the teams that the Maple Leafs have overcome at least a three-goal disadvantage to beat the Habs. The other was March 26, 1969, a 6-4 win.

"I thought we started fantastic," Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said.

"I thought the first eight minutes -- I don't know if we can skate any faster or move the puck any better. When they scored, for whatever reason, we lost composure there for a bit. Even their power-play goal, we weren't in the right spots.

"We were able to get in the room and get regrouped. We've got a lot of belief in our team; we think we've got a good team. We talked about having lots of hockey, got to start doing things right."

Toronto's' previous victory after overcoming a deficit of at least three goals was Dec. 6, 2010, a 5-4 shootout victory over Washington.

The Maple Leafs defeated the Sabres 4-3 in overtime on Dec. 4 in their first meeting of the season.

--Field Level Media

Updated February 24, 2019

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