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Leafs look to stop Sabres from clinching Northeast on TSN

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The Sports Network
4/1/2010 12:57:42 PM
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(Sports Network) - The Toronto Maple Leafs continue to try and play spoiler for other NHL teams, and tonight they look to stop the Buffalo Sabres from clinching the Northeast title at Air Canada Centre.

Catch the game on TSN and TSN HD at 7pm et/4pm pt.

As the last place team in the Eastern Conference, the Maple Leafs have been concentrating on playing the spoiler down the stretch. The role has fit Toronto, which just turned in its best month of the season, posting a 9-5-2 record in March.

However, the Maple Leafs are coming off back-to-back losses, losing a shootout decision Sunday in Pittsburgh before dropping another close game Tuesday against visiting Atlanta. Former Maple Leaf Nik Antropov notched the game- winner early in the third period, leading the Thrashers to the 3-2 decision at Air Canada Centre.

Viktor Stalberg notched both goals for the Maple Leafs, while Jonas Gustavsson yielded all three goals on 25 shots.

Tuesday's loss kicked off a four-game homestand for Toronto, which will wrap up its 2009-10 home schedule with the conclusion of this residency. The Leafs are just 17-16-5 as the host this year.

The Sabres, meanwhile, need a victory tonight combined with an Ottawa regulation loss against Carolina to win their first division title since the 2006-07 campaign. Buffalo, which has already clinched a playoff berth, is seven points ahead of the Senators. The Sabres are also one point ahead of Pittsburgh for the second seed in the Eastern Conference.

Buffalo has dominated Toronto recently, winning 10 straight over its divisional opponents dating back to last season. The Maple Leafs, who have also dropped 14 of their last 16 tests in this series, haven't defeated the Sabres since December 12 of last season.

The Sabres have also won eight in a row in Toronto and last lost at Air Canada Centre on January 19, 2008.

Buffalo comes into tonight's game on a hot streak, winning three straight and seven of their last eight contests. The Sabres haven't won four in a row since six-game winning streak from Dec, 27-Jan. 8.

The Sabres earned a decisive victory their last time out, pounding visiting Florida by a 6-2 score on Wednesday night. Ryan Miller needed to make only 13 saves and Raffi Torres chipped in three assists, lifting the Sabres to the easy victory.

Henrik Tallinder, Tim Kennedy and Jason Pominville were among six different goal-scorers for Buffalo. Tallinder also added an assist.

Buffalo forwards Thomas Vanek and Tim Connolly both missed the game with lower-body injuries and are expected to sit out tonight as well.

The Sabres are closing out the season with five of their six games on the road. Buffalo, which is 19-13-4 as the guest this year, will also visit Montreal on Saturday before returning home for Tuesday's game against the New York Rangers.

Hecht shoots on Gustavsson (Photo: Graig Abel/NHLI via Getty Images)

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(Photo: Graig Abel/NHLI via Getty Images)
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