Peca no stranger to Buffalo

MIKE ZEISBERGER --

, Last Updated: 11:38 AM ET

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Michael Peca doesn't remember all the goals, all the assists; any of those micro-details of his days as a Sabre in the Buffalo-Toronto rivalry.

When it comes to seeing his friends and loved ones sprayed with suds from intoxicated Maple Leafs supporters in the stands, well, that's a different story.

"Anywhere in Canada and obviously anywhere relatively close to Toronto, you're going to get a great turnout of Leaf fans," Peca said. "The tough part was all the beer being spilled on our wives and families and stuff from all the drunk Toronto fans who came down to the game.

"Having said that, the environment is always going to be an exciting one."

Peca, a Sabre from 1995-2000, returned to Buffalo to play on numerous occasions as a member of the New York Islanders.

That's why he doesn't consider the game against the Sabres at HSBC Arena tonight -- his first appearance there in a Leafs uniform -- to be as special for him as some media members might project.

"I've pretty much been long removed (from the Sabres)," said Peca, who lives in the suburbs outside of Buffalo. "The good thing for me is to see friends and family in town.

"As far as playing the (Sabres) they've changed their jerseys a few times and kind of rolled around the lineup a little bit. I don't think there are any regulars in the lineup that I played with, so I think they've kind of turned it over a little bit."

As for the Battle of the Golden Horseshoe between the Leafs and Sabres, Peca has seen this act before. In 1999, his Sabres defeated the Leafs in the Eastern Conference final.

"I think when you play in enough rivalries they all kind of mesh together," Peca said. "I think the big thing is that, from a team perspective, we realize there hasn't been a lot of success there (for the Leafs) in the last few years.

"(The Sabres) are a team that is at the top of the league right now playing extremely well. It's going to be a great test for us and we're looking at it as an opportunity to show how good we are."


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