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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Friday, March 16th (All times eastern)

Buffalo Sabres (45-19-6) at Tampa Bay Lightning (39-28-4), 8 p.m.

(Sports Network) - One night after stopping a season-high losing streak, the Buffalo Sabres try to make it two victories in a row when the Eastern Conference frontrunners visit the Tampa Bay Lightning this evening at St. Pete Times Forum.

Buffalo had dropped four consecutive games before Thursday's road win over the Florida Panthers. Chris Drury netted the tiebreaking tally midway through the third period and Drew Stafford had the first two-goal game of his career to help the Sabres to a 5-3 triumph.

Ty Conklin was outstanding in his Buffalo debut, as the netminder racked up 42 saves. The Sabres acquired Conklin from Columbus at the February 27 trade deadline.

Jason Pominville and Dainius Zubrus also tallied for Buffalo, while Brian Campbell had three assists on the evening.

The win kept the Sabres in front of New Jersey in the race for the East's top playoff seed. Buffalo has 96 points on the year while the Devils, who defeated Carolina on Thursday, have 94.

The Sabres will be playing the third test of a four-game road trip tonight and own a sparkling 22-9-3 record as the visitor.

Tampa Bay enters this evening's play two points in back of first-place Atlanta in the Southeast Division standings. The Lightning will be attempting to shake off a tough loss in their most recent outing, a 3-2 setback Tuesday in Toronto.

Brad Richards had a goal and an assist for Tampa Bay, which completed a six- game road trip with a 3-3-0 record, while Dan Boyle recorded a shorthanded marker in defeat.

Boyle has compiled two goals and three assists during a five-game scoring streak. Vincent Lecavalier, who set up Richards' score, has 10 points (5 goals, 5 assists) over a six-game tear.

Tampa Bay snapped a string of six straight losses to the Sabres with a 3-2 decision in Buffalo on January 13. The Sabres have posted victories in each of their last three trips to St. Pete Times Forum, however.

03/16 10:37:47 ET

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