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Leafs in do-or-die mode

TORONTO -- Don't expect much news from the Sabres today as they have opted out of their morning skate here at the Air Canada Centre and coach Lindy Ruff is not even coming to the rink. That means we'll have to wait to speak to Ruff in the 5 p.m. range to find out who might be in and who might be out tonight.

The Toronto Maple Leafs, meanwhile, got an unscheduled day off yesterday as coach Ron Wilson opted to give them a mental day. They went hard for a half-hour this morning and then made it clear afterward their season might be on the line tonight.

"Basically what we're saying is we want to lay everything on the line for this game. This is pretty much the season here," said winger Clarke MacArthur, the ex-Sabre. "We have to find a way to bring more grit and determination tonight."

The Leafs got back in the race with a 6-0-3 burst -- including their 2-1 win Feb. 16 in HSBC Arena -- but are 0-2-1 in their last three. They're six points behind the seventh-place Sabres and eighth-place New York Rangers.

The Leafs have endured plenty of lean years in recent seasons and haven't made the playoffs since the lockout. They're running out of time to get there this year as well.

"If we slip to eight points, realistically, it's going to be tough," MacArthur said. "Tonight is the biggest game of the year.I honestly think we have more to give. We're going to find out what we're made of tonight. It's do or die."

Rookie goalie James Reimer, who came on in relief of J-S Giguere and got the win in Buffalo will be in goal for the Leafs tonight against Ryan Miller.

"It's a pressure game, a huge game for us with a lot on the line," said Reimer. "Both teams need the points but it's pretty obvious we need them a little more than they do."

The Sabres can with their 100th game all-time against the Leafs tonight as they're 99-55-22 against them. They have killed off 40 straight penalties over the last 11 games against Toronto, dating to March 27, 2009. Miller's 24 wins and four shutouts against the Leafs the his most against any opponent.

Here's audio from MacArthur's chat with reporters this morning.

Clarke MacArthur

---Mike Harrington

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John Vogl

John Vogl

John Vogl has been covering the Sabres since 2002-03, an era that has included playoff runs, last-place finishes and three ownership changes. The award-winning writer is the Buffalo chapter chairman for the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.

@BuffNewsVogl |

About Sabres Edge

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has been covering the Buffalo Sabres since 2007. He is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association and can vouch that exposed flesh freezes instantly when walking in downtown Winnipeg in January.

@BNHarrington |

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz |