NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, February 11th (All times eastern)
Buffalo Sabres (32-18-8) at Carolina Hurricanes (22-30-7), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Buffalo Sabres will try to avoid losing six straight games for the first time in over two years when they head to the RBC Center tonight to battle a Carolina Hurricanes club that will try to match its longest winning streak of the season.
The Sabres have lost each of their last five games and are 2-7-2 in their last 11 outings. That rut, combined with a recent hot stretch by the Senators, now has Ottawa and Buffalo tied atop the Northeast Division with 72 points.
Buffalo hasn't posted six straight losses since an 0-5-5 skid from December 26, 2007-January 16, 2008.
The Sabres lost four straight in regulation before Tuesday's 3-2 shootout setback to the Boston Bruins. Buffalo fell behind by two goals in the first period before Derek Roy and Tyler Myers both lit the lamp in the second stanza. However, Ryan Miller, who made 32 saves, couldn't stop Boston's David Krejci in the fourth round of the shootout for the deciding goal.
"We didn't like the way we started, giving them a couple easy goals," Roy said.
Buffalo will also be looking to snap an 0-5-1 road stretch that has dropped it to 14-11-2 as the guest this year. The Sabres, who haven't won on the road since January 18, finish their pre-Olympic schedule at home Saturday versus San Jose.
The Hurricanes continue a three-game homestand that will carry them into the break tonight and won the opener of the residency, 4-1, versus the Florida Panthers on Tuesday. Carolina won for the third straight time and will look to match the season-best four-game win streak it posted less than a month ago, from January 24-30.
Matt Cullen and Joni Pitkanen both tallied a goal and an assist to lead the Hurricanes, while Jussi Jokinen also scored to give him six goals and two assists over a seven-game point streak. Tuomo Ruutu, returning from a 15-game absence because of a upper-body injury, capped the scoring with an empty-net goal.
"We were more patient, we skated hard and good things are starting to happen," said Carolina head coach Paul Maurice. "And we are getting good goaltending."
With Cam Ward missing his third straight game due to a back issue and not expected back before the Olympic break, Manny Legace made 19 saves in helping Carolina to its seventh win in its last nine games and fourth straight at home.
The Hurricanes, who wrap their stand on Saturday versus New Jersey, are 12 points back of a playoff spot and began their current win streak with a 4-3 win at Buffalo on February 5. That avenged an earlier road loss to the Sabres on November 28, and the teams will meet in Raleigh for the first time this season.
The Sabres snapped a three-game slide at RBC Center with a win there on April 9, 2009.
02/11 10:50:03 ET