NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Friday, March 6th
(All times eastern)
Phoenix Coyotes (28-31-5) at Buffalo Sabres (32-25-7), 7:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Buffalo Sabres will try to post back-to-back victories
for the first time in over a month when they welcome the Phoenix Coyotes for
tonight's encounter at HSBC Arena.
Buffalo ended a three-game losing streak its last time out, as it notched an
easy victory over the visiting Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday. The Sabres
haven't won consecutive tests since beating Toronto and Montreal on February 4
and 6, respectively.
The Sabres are currently outside the Eastern Conference playoff picture, but
not by much. With 71 points, Buffalo is tied with Carolina for the ninth seed
and is three points behind a trio of teams tied for the final three postseason
berths in the East.
Derek Roy and Paul Gaustad each scored twice as the Sabres routed the Habs,
5-1, on Wednesday. Jaroslav Spacek added a goal and an assist for the Sabres,
who won for just the third time in their last eight contests.
Patrick Lalime was spectacular between the pipes, turning aside 38-of-39 shots
in the win.
Also, Sabres leading scorer Thomas Vanek returned to the lineup after missing
the previous nine games with a fractured jaw, which he suffered in a game
against Ottawa on February 7. Vanek played 13:42 without registering a point.
The Sabres won't have at least one of their two trade deadline acquisitions in
the lineup tonight, as center Dominic Moore and Buffalo continue to work out a
visa problem. However, goaltender Mikael Tellqvist, who served in a backup
role in Wednesday's game against Montreal, will get his first start in a
Sabres uniform either tonight or in Saturday's game at Ottawa. Moore came over
in a trade with Toronto, while Buffalo nabbed Tellqvist from Phoenix.
Tellqvist is expected to help Patrick Lalime handle starting duties while No.
1 goaltender Ryan Miller recovers from a high ankle sprain. Miller has missed
the last four games and is out again tonight.
The Sabres are 18-12-2 as the host this year and are capping a brief two-game
homestand tonight. Buffalo will play its next two games at Ottawa and
The Coyotes also ended a three-game losing streak their last time out, as they
edged the struggling Bruins Thursday night in Boston.
Ilya Bryzgalov was solid between the pipes, making 25 saves, and Steven
Reinprecht's second-period goal proved to be the difference, as Phoenix beat
the Bruins, 2-1, at TD Banknorth Garden.
Newly acquired forward Scottie Upshall tallied in his debut for Phoenix, which
won for just the fourth time in its last 16 games.
The Coyotes are 14th out of 15 teams in the Western Conference currently, but
are still only seven points out of a playoff berth.
Phoenix is just 11-18-3 as the visiting club this year and is playing the
second test of a five-game road trip tonight.
Buffalo earned a 2-0 win over the Coyotes earlier this season in Phoenix,
giving the road team a victory for the eighth time in the last nine meetings
between the clubs. Phoenix has taken four of the last six tests in the series
03/06 10:43:34 ET