BUFFALO – The numbers, of course, are still bad. Fourteen games into his season, Sabres center Ville Leino has zero goals, three assists and just 10 shots.
But Leino, having played 20:19 and 19:23 in the last two games, is beginning to earn interim coach Ted Nolan’s trust.
Leino will pivot newcomer Matt D’Agostini and captain Steve Ott tonight against the Toronto Maple Leafs inside the First Niagara Center.
In Wednesday’s 3-1 loss to Montreal, Leino had Canadiens goalie Carey Price beaten, but the puck trickled through and hit the post. It would’ve been his first goal since March 30.
“It’s obviously frustrating when you’re not scoring,” Leino said this morning. “But I’m happy with getting chances. I’m happy with making plays. There’s a lot of good things. Results are important. Producing is important. But if you keep playing like that and getting chances like that, start circling posts, you’re going to get some goals at one point. Better soon than later.”
Nolan recently switched Leino from wing back to center, a position he played early in 2011-12.
“It’s been pretty good so far,” Leino said. “I’ve been getting a lot of pucks, making a lot of plays. I’m feeling pretty comfortable. Can’t complain. The only thing I can complain is not getting it in, but it’s my own fault.”
Leino has two assists in the last four games.