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NHL Preview from The Sports Network

Friday, February 13th (All times eastern)

San Jose Sharks (37-7-8) at Buffalo Sabres (28-21-6), 7:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Western Conference-leading San Jose Sharks will continue their longest road trip of the season when they visit the Buffalo Sabres for tonight's interconference battle at HSBC Arena.

The Sharks are 1-0-2 so far on a five-game swing that is scheduled to end Sunday in New Jersey. San Jose is 14-5-5 as the visiting team this season.

San Jose is leading the West with 82 points, but is now just one point ahead of Detroit. The Sharks are currently holding a 21-point advantage over Anaheim for first place in the Pacific Division.

The Sharks have just one win in their last five games, but have recorded at least a point in four straight contests.

San Jose recorded a 5-2 win over the NHL-leading Bruins on Tuesday, but followed with a shootout loss in Pittsburgh the following night. Sidney Crosby netted the lone goal in the shootout, as the Penguins clipped the Sharks, 2-1, at Mellon Arena.

Crosby opened the third round by sneaking a wrist shot through the pads of Brian Boucher. Dan Boyle then failed to put his backhand chance past the outstretched pad of Marc-Andre Fleury, ending the game in Pittsburgh's favor.

Joe Pavelski scored for the Sharks, while Boucher made 35 saves in a losing effort.

The Sabres, meanwhile, have lost two straight and three of their last five games. Buffalo is currently in the playoff picture as it has 62 points and is tied for seventh in the Eastern Conference with Florida.

Buffalo's last two losses came in a home-and-home sweep at the hands of the Ottawa Senators. The Senators recorded a shootout victory in Ottawa on Saturday and followed with Wednesday's 3-1 decision in western New York.

Daniel Alfredsson had a goal and an assist, and rookie goaltender Brian Elliott made 31 saves to help Ottawa complete the sweep.

Ales Kotalik accounted for the lone Sabres goal, while Ryan Miller turned aside 20-of-23 shots. The Sabres finished 1-for-12 on the power play, skating with the man advantage for 19:49 of game time.

The Sabres played their first game without leading scorer Thomas Vanek, who will be sidelined for a month with a fractured jaw suffered last Saturday in a loss to Ottawa. Vanek leads Buffalo in goals (32) and points (52) this season.

Tonight's test marks the middle portion of a three-game homestand for the Sabres, who are 15-10-2 as the host this year and had won five straight at HSBC before the loss to Ottawa. Buffalo is scheduled to complete the stand this Sunday against Carolina.

Buffalo is 3-1 with a tie in the last five meetings with the Sharks and recorded a 7-1 blowout victory in San Jose last season. The Sharks last played in Buffalo on December 2, 2005 when they notched a 5-0 win over the Sabres. Prior to that victory, San Jose had lost 11 straight in Buffalo.

02/13 10:46:58 ET

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