Maple Leafs-Sabres: Justin Pogge May Get Home Debut for Toronto

Dino MoriAnalyst IFebruary 17, 2009

The fourth installment in the Justin Pogge experiment is expected to take place at the Air Canada Center in Toronto on Tuesday.

It is presumed that Pogge will be between the pipes when the Maple Leafs plays host the Buffalo Sabres, after he was called up from the AHL, Marlies, on Monday.

If Pogge does get the call, it'll mark the first time in four NHL starts that he'll play in front of the home folks at the ACC.

Thus far, Pogge is a mediocre 1-2 with a 4.33 goals-against average and .824 save percentage.

Whether or not the former World Junior goalie for Canada in 2006 has what it takes to be successful at the NHL level, remains to be seen.

Suffice to say, Pogge is getting his baptism by fire playing in front of a porous Maple Leafs defense corps.

Ironically, the 22-year-old net minder could be facing the same Sabres team as he did back on February 4. In that one, Pogge stopped 27 of 32 shots in a 5-0-shutout loss, a game where his Leaf teammates left him out to dry. 

Pogge made several terrific saves against Buffalo, to offset the poor performance he gave in his second NHL start against Minnesota.

Pogge surrendered six goals on just 21 shots versus the Wild, including four in the second period on only 11 shots.

In his NHL debut, a 6-2 victory over Atlanta on Dec. 22, Pogge turned aside 19 shots against the Thrashers.

Toronto is coming off an impressive 6-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins last Saturday.

The game turned out to be Michel Therrien's final one behind the Penguins bench.

Therrien was fired by the team a day later and replaced with minor league coach, Dan Bylsma.

Jason Blake continued his torrid scoring pace, notching two goals against Sidney Crosby and his mates.

Blake raised his season goal total to 21, and has collected 20 points in his past 13 games. That ranks him second only to Washington's Mike Green for most points over that span.

Buffalo, meanwhile, were shutout 3-0 by the Carolina Hurricanes in their last outing on Sunday.

The Sabres offense is reeling a bit since top sniper Tomas Vanek broke his jaw three games ago against the Ottawa Senators. Vanek led Buffalo with 32 goals, including 15 with the man-advantage, prior to his injury.

Buffalo forward Jason Pominville is in a major scoring drought, with one goal in his past 19 games.

The Sabres have won the past four meetings with the Maple Leafs in Toronto by the combined score of 18-7.