I'm sure they'll bring it up and try to make it seem like a clash of the titans, but Larkin's transition to center has been a little bumpy and he has more responsibilities than past year where he could just fly around a score goals without worrying too much about defense.
ABOUT THE MAPLE LEAFS (38-24-15): Matthews has recorded 38 goals, which has him among the league leaders and within two of becoming the first Maple Leaf with 40 since Mats Sundin in 2001-02.
Maple Leafs rookie sensation forward Matthews recently told the Toronto Sun, "These games were a struggle for us at the beginning of the year".
"The first 10 minutes of the game we basically handed them two of the goals", Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said.
Buffalo was 18-2-1 in its last 21 home games against the Leafs, but it had no chance at bettering that record. "It's a lot more fun when you win, so hopefully we can make sure we're on the right side of that".
"You play the right way and that kind of stuff will take care of itself". A bit of bad luck put them in hole again when Howard got a piece of James van Riemsdyk's shot but not enough to stop the puck from sliding into the net. With the win, Toronto jumped Boston for second place in the Atlantic with a game in hand. Washington, Columbus, and Pittsburgh are definitely going to be the toughest games for this Leafs team, but this will help show their resiliency and will to win, which they will need if they make it into the big show.
I think they play good together. Robin Lehner was pulled after giving up three goals on five shots in the first five minutes, and Anders Nillson stopped 32 of the 33 shots he faced. The late-season collapse will extend Buffalo's playoff drought to six consecutive seasons. Austin Watson wound up with the minor for roughing and Toronto's top ranked road power play quickly went to work.
By definition, the Maple Leafs should not be getting a road per diem these days.
"They were hungrier", Eichel said. "They're playing with a lot of intensity and a lot of focus and a lot of commitment".
Not to be outdone, Marner has hit the 60 point plateau as well.
Almost a record: The Leafs exploded for three goals in just 43 seconds, nearly breaking a 77-year-old record. Eller scored his first non-empty net goal since February 7 thanks to a great cycle play. They did grab the early lead, when Frans Nielsen backed the Leafs off on a rush and dropped to Gus Nyquist for a high snap.
TORONTO KEY TRENDS: The Maple Leafs have won six of seven entering play tonight and are also 6-1 in their last seven games against Eastern Conference competition.
"I don't think anybody was too anxious here about him", Toronto rookie forward Auston Matthews said.
Riley Sheahan opened up the second period with a check on Nikita Zaitsev. Nashville came in three points shy of its third straight playoff berth under coach Peter Laviolette. As a result, each goal scored produced a roar that sounded about the same in decibel level each time.
Noted Leonardo DiCaprio lookalike William Nylander has been announced as March's NHL Rookie of the Month.
One more power-play goal and Matthews will match another Leafs franchise rookie record - one that William Nylander already equalled earlier in the year.