NBCSN’s coverage of the 2019-20 NHL season continues with Tuesday’s matchup between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Buffalo Sabres. Coverage begins at 6 p.m. ET on NBCSN. You can watch the game online and on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.
A pair of 16-win teams in the Atlantic Division square off for the third of four regular-season meetings after splitting the first two matchups. These teams played a back-to-back home-and-home on Nov. 29 and 30, with each team winning at home. Both clubs enter this game having won three of their last four games and in the thick of the playoff race as we close in on the Christmas break.
Buffalo is coming off a 3-2 loss in overtime at the Islanders on Saturday as the Sabres bring a five-game point streak (3-0-2) into this contest. Despite the loss, Krueger was upbeat after the game, saying, “disappointing in overtime but generally a super effort by the guys.” Jack Eichel, who tied things late in the third period, extended his point streak to 16 games
The 23-year-old Eichel is having a career year (23 goals – second in NHL, 48 points – tied-fifth in NHL), a season after setting highs in goals (28), assists (54) and points (82). He is on pace to reach 55 goals and 115 points. Perhaps most importantly to note is that Eichel has played in all 34 games this season; he has yet to play all 82 games in a season since entering the league in 2015-16. Over the last month, Eichel has really turned it on, bringing a 16-game point streak into this contest (started on Nov. 16 when he had a career-high four goals vs. Ottawa) in which he’s totaled 29 points (15G-14A) in the span. The streak is the longest of his career, the longest by any player in the league this season and the longest by a Sabres player since Tim Connolly in 2009-10 (16 games).
The story of the season for Toronto centers on the firing of head coach Mike Babcock in late November and the turnaround under new head coach Sheldon Keefe. Babcock was let go following a sixth straight loss for Toronto that dropped its record to 9-10-4 on the season. Since Keefe took over for the Nov. 21 game at Arizona, the Leafs have gone 7-4-0. Under Babcock this season, the Maple Leafs allowed 3.43 goals/game. In 11 games with Keefe at the helm, the Leafs are allowing 2.54 goals/game.
WHAT: Buffalo Sabres at Toronto Maple Leafs
WHERE: Scotiabank Arena
WHEN: Tuesday, Dec. 17, 6 p.m. ET
LIVE STREAM: You can watch the Sabres-Maple Leafs stream on NBC Sports’ live stream page and the NBC Sports app.
Starting goalie: Linus Ullmark
Zach Hyman – John Tavares – Mitch Marner
William Nylander – Auston Matthews – Kasperi Kapanen
Pierre Engvall – Alexander Kerfoot – Ilya Mikheyev
Trevor Moore – Frederik Gauthier – Jason Spezza
Starting goalie: Frederik Andersen
Tuesday night’s studio coverage will be hosted by Paul Burmeister alongside analysts Jeremy Roenick and Anson Carter. Kenny Albert and Pierre McGuire will call Sabres-Maple Leafs from Scotiabank Arena in Toronto.