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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Thursday, January 21st (All times eastern)

Buffalo Sabres (30-12-6) at Los Angeles Kings (27-19-3), 10:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - Still holding on to the eighth spot in the Western Conference, the Los Angeles Kings conclude a seven-game homestand tonight versus the Buffalo Sabres at Staples Center.

The Kings are 2-4-0 on their longest residency of the season but have maintained a one-point edge over the ninth-seeded Detroit Red Wings in the standings. Los Angeles had won its last two games on the homestand before Tuesday's 5-1 loss to Pacific Division-leading San Jose.

Wayne Simmonds had the Kings' lone goal and Jonathan Quick allowed five goals on 24 shots for Los Angeles, which is now 17 points behind the Sharks in the division standings.

Special teams have been a problem for the Kings over their last few games. Los Angeles went 0-for-5 on the power play versus San Jose and is 0-for-21 on the man advantage over its last four games. The Kings also allowed the Sharks to score on all three of their power-play opportunities.

"The power play can win you games, and the penalty killing will lose you games," said Kings head coach Terry Murray. "I think this game tonight against San Jose is a perfect example of that."

The Sabres come to Los Angeles for the first time since December of 2007 and continue a season-long seven-game road trip. They fell to 2-1-1 on the swing with Tuesday's 5-4 setback to Anaheim. The loss was Buffalo's first in regulation since December 23, as it had gone 8-0-3 in its previous 11 games.

Tim Connolly had a goal -- the 100th of his career -- to extend his career- best point streak to 13 games and has amassed six goals and 15 assists on the run. Steve Montador, Clarke MacArthur and Johan Hecht also scored as the Sabres tried to dig themselves out of a 4-0 first-period deficit.

Patrick Lalime started at goaltender for Buffalo in order to give Ryan Miller a rest, but was pulled less than 10 minutes into the game after he allowed four goals on 11 shots. Miller made 18 saves the rest of the way.

"I know my role and in the last few weeks, that is the way it's been," said Lalime after his seventh start of the season. "I've been getting a game here and there. It's part of my job. I think there were a couple of bad breaks and they all seemed to find their way into the back of the net -- just a couple of mistakes that cost us goals."

The Sabres, two points behind Washington for the most in the Eastern Conference and owners of a 10-point advantage over second-place Ottawa in the Northeast Division, have won four of their last five meetings with the Kings. That includes a 5-0 win at Buffalo last year in which Miller posted a 40-save shutout.

However, the Sabres have just one win and a tie in their last eight trips to Los Angeles, which includes a 5-1 victory there on October 23, 2003. However, Buffalo was blasted, 8-2, the last time it traveled to the City of Angels on December 6, 2007.

01/21 11:12:18 ET


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