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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, October 24th (All times eastern)

Buffalo Sabres (5-1-1) at Tampa Bay Lightning (3-3-2), 7:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Buffalo Sabres will try to maintain their perfect road record tonight when they visit the Tampa Bay Lightning for a battle at St. Pete Times Forum.

The Sabres are 2-0-0 as the guest this year and began a three-game road trip with Wednesday's decisive victory over the Florida Panthers. Buffalo has jumped out to a strong 5-1-1 start overall this year and the Sabres are tied with Ottawa atop the Northeast Division with 11 points.

Buffalo basically ended Wednesday's game against the Panthers in the first period, as it jumped out to a 5-1 lead in the opening 20 minutes and then breezed to a 5-2 victory. Ryan Miller stopped 41 shots, while Mike Grier and Thomas Vanek scored to lead the Sabres in the rout at BankAtlantic Center.

Vanek, who led the Sabres with 40 goals in 2008-09, had missed the previous two games with an upper-body injury. The Austrian sniper has four goals in five games this year and has lit the lamp in two straight contests.

Jason Pominville also tallied for the Sabres, who have just one loss in regulation on the season. Matt Ellis and Tyler Myers scored a goal each, while Henrik Tallinder added two assists in the win.

Miller has been spectacular between the pipes this year, notching a 5-0-1 record to go with a 1.66 goals-against average and .942 save percentage. He is 13-3-0 with a 2.79 GAA in 16 career games against the Lightning.

After tonight, the Sabres are off until Wednesday when they'll close the road trip with a stop in New Jersey.

The Lightning are also coming off an impressive win, as they slammed San Jose, 5-2, at the Forum on Thursday. The victory ended a two-game slide and was the third win in five games for the Bolts.

Steven Stamkos lit the lamp twice to lead Tampa past the Sharks and Martin St. Louis added an assist to extend the league's longest current point streak to eight games. St. Louis has three goals and nine assists during the run.

James Wright, Ryan Malone and Andrej Meszaros also tallied for the Lightning and Mike Smith earned his first win of the year by making 32 saves. Smith is 1-2-2 with a 3.68 GAA and .881 save percentage in five games this season.

All of Tampa's victories this season have come on home ice, as the club has posted a 3-0-1 mark as the host. The Lightning began a four-game homestand on Thursday and will also welcome Ottawa and New Jersey before completing the residency.

The Sabres and Lightning split four games last season, but Buffalo has dominated the series in recent years, winning seven of nine and 13 of its last 16 against the Bolts. Buffalo is 10-3 with a pair of ties in its last 15 trips to the Forum.

10/24 10:45:09 ET


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