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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, February 21st (All times eastern)

Buffalo Sabres (28-26-6-1) at New York Islanders (28-22-8-2), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The surging Buffalo Sabres try to gain ground in the Eastern Conference playoff race tonight when they visit the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum.

Buffalo, with 63 points, is three behind both Montreal and New York, who are tied for seventh place in the standings. If the season ended today, the Islanders would enter the playoffs as the No. 8 seed.

On Friday, Daniel Briere's goal 3:01 into overtime lifted the Sabres over the Tampa Bay Lightning, 4-3, at HSBC Arena. Briere, who also had two assists, scored on a 2-on-0 breakaway, taking a feed from Miroslav Satan and going backhand for the game winner. Satan also notched a pair of goals himself for Buffalo, owners of a six-game unbeaten streak (5-0-1).

Martin Biron was strong in net, stopping several good scoring chances on his way to a 30-save performance. The Sabres have also been victorious in nine of their last 11 overall (9-1-1).

Buffalo managed the two points despite allowing three goals in the third period.

The Sabres, who have won three consecutive road games, will visit New Jersey on Wednesday.

The Islanders, meanwhile, had a five-game unbeaten streak (2-0-3) snapped via Thursday's 6-2 beating at the hands of the rival Rangers in a testy, fight- filled match at Madison Square Garden.

Islanders' goaltender Rick DiPietro had a tough night between the pipes, allowing six goals on 31 shots, and was pulled in favor of Garth Snow in the third period. Snow replaced the young netminder and faced five shots before being forced to leave following one of the late scrums. Snow was the third-man in during a fight between teammate Eric Cairns and the Rangers' Dale Purinton.

New York, which is 5-0-2 in its last seven home games, kicks off a three-game stand tonight and will host Boston on Tuesday.

The Isles are 2-0 against the Sabres this season, having outscored them by a combined 10-2 margin. New York has won five straight meetings overall, including three straight at Nassau.

02/21 10:14:11 ET


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