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Five Things to Know as the Sabres host the Toronto Maple Leafs

The Toronto Maple Leafs are in town, and there are plenty of seats available.

Here are Five Things to Know as the Buffalo Sabres host their archrival at 7:30 Monday night in KeyBank Center.

1. Who's that?

It's six months into the season, and the Sabres are finally playing the Leafs. It is the first of four meetings.

It's typically good to be the home team. The host has won 24 of the last 30 games. The Sabres are 18-3-1 in their last 22 home games against the Leafs.

Buffalo is 3-2 in its last five games overall to run its season record to 20-34-11. The Leafs are 0-1-2 in their last three to fall to 39-21-7.

"It's always a terrific rivalry," Buffalo coach Phil Housley said after the morning skate. "We know where they're at. They've lost three in a row, and they're talking about the checking part of their game. We know where we're at. We have to be ready.

"This is a very dangerous team, and it's a good challenge for our guys to see the speed coming at them and their offensive abilities. We're going to have to be really good without the puck."

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2. Guhle is back

The Sabres recalled Brendan Guhle from Rochester on Sunday, and the organization's No. 1 defense prospect will play his third game of the season. He had one assist in two games in January.

After returning to the Amerks, he missed three weeks with a lower-body injury.

"He played terrific last time he was up here," Housley said. "We wanted to continue to have him up or bring him up again, but he got hurt, which set him back. But recently he's played terrific hockey, so I think it's an opportunity for him to get back to where he was in bringing some good speed and joining the rush."

Guhle will be paired with Casey Nelson, his defense partner earlier in the year with Rochester.

"We're expecting to pick up where we left off," Nelson said. "We both move our feet quite a bit up and down the ice. Defensively, we're aware and defensively sound. I just think we can move the puck out of the zone as quick as we can, get it in our forwards' hands and maybe join the rush now and then."

The other pairs will be Marco Scandella-Rasmus Ristolainen and Nathan Beaulieu-Victor Antipin. Justin Falk and Josh Gorges will be scratched.

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3. Criscuolo gets another chance

With center Evan Rodrigues out for the second straight game with an upper-body injury, the Sabres recalled Kyle Criscuolo. He appeared in eight games in November and December but didn't get a point.

The center has 15 goals and 34 points in 50 games with the Amerks.

"Crisco has had a terrific year down in Rochester," Housley said. "We brought him up earlier in the season and we didn't get any offensive production, so we sent him back down to work at his game. He's provided that for Rochester. This is why he's getting an opportunity."

The Sabres' lines in the morning skate:

Zemgus Girgensons-Ryan O'Reilly-Sam Reinhart
Scott Wilson-Johan Larsson-Jason Pominville
Benoit Pouliot-Criscuolo-Nick Baptiste
Jordan Nolan-Jacob Josefson-Kyle Okposo

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4. State of the Sabres

It's telling that Larsson, who has no goals in 14 games and only two in the last 57, has been elevated to the second power-play unit. The groups were Reinhart, O'Reilly, Pominville, Okposo and Ristolainen; and Baptiste, Larsson, Wilson, Guhle and Nelson.

"It's been a tough year, a miserable year," O'Reilly said.

Eichel, Matthews still sidelined but both are skating

5. Ticket watch

In the past, this game was a hot ticket. The Monday night meeting? Not so much.

Tickets were available on StubHub on Monday morning for as low as $13.95. They were available for $15 at noon.

It certainly won't be a sellout. On the Sabres' box office at, the top three rows in Section 316 were available in their entirety at noon, along with most of the next two rows. The top corners were available in the other sections of the arena, too.

And the seats through the Sabres cost $95.

How do you sell Sabres tickets that no one wants? You don't.

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