NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Wednesday, January 6th
(All times eastern)
Tampa Bay Lightning (16-15-10) at Buffalo Sabres (26-11-4), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The first-place Buffalo Sabres will try to post their
longest winning streak of the season when they host the Tampa Bay Lightning
tonight at HSBC Arena.
The Sabres, who lead the Northeast Division with 56 points, have tied a season
high with wins in each of their last four contests. Buffalo hasn't won five
straight since a six-game stretch from December 12-22, 2007.
Buffalo has won each of its last three tests by just one goal and is coming
off Sunday's 1-0 victory in Montreal. Tim Connolly scored the lone goal of the
game in the second period and Ryan Miller stopped all 30 shots to lead the
Sabres to the divisional win at Bell Centre.
"We had good puck control in the third period. For six to eight minutes they
didn't have a shot on goal after a few early ones," Miller said. "It was a
tight game until the end."
Miller earned his 17th career shutout for the Sabres and he is tied for the
league lead this year with five blankings. The veteran backstop has had
success against Tampa Bay in his career, going 14-3-0 with a 2.73 goals-
against average against the Bolts.
Connolly recorded a point for the sixth straight game and has five goals and
four assists during the run.
Buffalo could have forward Patrick Kaleta back tonight after he missed the
last three games with a leg injury. Kaleta, who has six goals and nine points
this year, practiced on Tuesday and is questionable for tonight.
The Sabres are kicking off a three-game homestand today and will also host
Toronto and Colorado during the residency. Buffalo has a 14-5-4 record at HSBC
this year and will aim for a third straight home win tonight.
Tampa Bay is also coming off a win in its last test and has recorded a point
in four straight games (3-0-1).
The Lightning hosted Pittsburgh on Saturday and dealt the defending Stanley
Cup champions a 3-1 defeat. Mike Smith was strong in net with 25 saves and
Steve Downie recorded a goal and an assist as Tampa Bay downed the Penguins at
St. Pete Times Forum.
Martin St. Louis and Zenon Konopka also scored for the Lightning, who have won
five of their last seven games. St. Louis extended his point streak to seven
games and has three goals and seven helpers during the tear.
Steven Stamkos and Mattias Ohlund each added two assists to the victory as
Tampa Bay closed out its five-game homestand at 3-1-1.
"We just tried to forecheck as much as possible and we got a lot of loose
pucks. When you get loose pucks, 2-on-1's -- good opportunities happen," said
Lightning defenseman Kurtis Foster.
The Lightning are beginning a three-game road trip tonight and can win for a
third straight time as the guest. Tampa, which will also stop in New Jersey
and Philadelphia during the swing, is just 6-10-5 on the road this season.
Tampa Bay winger Alex Tanguay is questionable for tonight's game with an
illness. Tanguay has been held without a point in his last two outings after
notching five points (2 goals, 3 assists) in his previous five contests.
Buffalo recorded a 3-2 shootout victory when these teams met in Tampa on
October 24. The Sabres have taken three of four and eight out of 10 overall in
the series and have won seven of nine on home ice.
01/06 10:36:38 ET