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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, February 10th (All times eastern)

Calgary Flames (29-18-7) at Buffalo Sabres (37-15-4), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - A pair of division leaders face off this evening at Buffalo's HSBC Arena, where the Northeast-leading Sabres continue their season-long homestand with a matchup against the Calgary Flames.

After enduring a rough eight-game stretch from mid-to-late January, the Sabres appear to have regained the form which has made them the top point-getters in the Eastern Conference this season. On Thursday, Buffalo recorded its fourth victory in its last five outings with a 3-2 downing of division-rival Ottawa.

Thomas Vanek's second goal of the night snapped a 2-2 deadlock with under four minutes left to play as the Sabres began this six-game home stretch on a positive note. Maxim Afinogenov also scored for Buffalo, while goaltender Martin Biron contributed 28 saves to the winning effort.

The Sabres have now won four in a row at HSBC Arena and bring an 18-7-2 home mark into tonight's tilt.

Left Wing Paul Gaustad (left ankle) will miss Saturday's game against Calgary, while defenseman Jaroslav Spacek (sprained knee) could return to the lineup tonight.

Calgary, on the other hand, has struggled on the road all season long. The Flames are a disappointing 7-13-6 away from the Saddledome and have dropped five of their last six as the visitor.

The Northwest Division leaders are coming off Thursday's 2-1 defeat at Columbus in their first test of a three-game road swing. David Vyborny and Fredrik Modin scored less than a minute apart in the third period to rally the Blue Jackets.

Matthew Lombardi had the lone Calgary goal and Jamie McClennan finished with 29 saves for the Flames, who have lost two straight and four of their last seven overall.

Calgary's Kristian Huselius managed to extend his point streak to 14 consecutive games by earning an assist on Lombardi's marker. The Swedish forward has racked up 20 points (9 goals, 11 assists) during the run, which is the longest by any NHL player this season.

Despite the loss, the Flames maintained their slim lead atop the Northwest. Calgary currently stands one point in front of both Vancouver and Minnesota for the top spot in the competitive division.

The Flames will be making their first appearance in Buffalo since losing a 5-2 decision to the Sabres on November 23, 2001. The four most recent meetings between these clubs have been held at the Saddledome, with Calgary emerging victorious in three of those encounters.

Calgary is winless (five losses, one tie) in its last six visits to Buffalo.

02/10 10:50:13 ET


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