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Saturday, January 8th (All times eastern)

Buffalo Sabres (17-18-5) at Phoenix Coyotes (19-13-8), 8 p.m.

(Sports Network) - Goals have been coming in bunches for the Coyotes and Sabres as of late, but both clubs are coming off strong defensive efforts as well.

Phoenix may be the one that sees its offense shut down tonight as it looks to halt a four-game slide to Buffalo at Jobing.com Arena.

The Coyotes have scored 20 goals over their last five games, but got just a pair from Taylor Pyatt in Thursday's 2-0 victory over Colorado. It was Phoenix's second victory in a row following a 2-4-1 stretch.

With Ilya Bryzgalov having left the team for a family medical situation, Jason LaBarbera stepped up with 34 saves for his second shutout of the season and sixth of his career.

"We did a good job of not turning pucks over in our zone," said LaBarbera. "That sure makes my job a lot easier -- it feels good when I can help the guys get the win."

Phoenix did reassign goaltender Matt Clime to San Antonio of the American Hockey League on Friday, so Bryzgalov should dress tonight. He is 1-3-0 with a 3.57 goals-against average versus the Sabres, while LaBarbera is 0-2-0 with a 4.37 GAA when facing them.

Captain Shane Doan had an assist against Colorado to run his point streak to eight games. He has six goals and seven helpers over that run as well as five goals and 14 points in 20 career games against the Sabres.

Doan will try to lift his club tonight to its first victory over Buffalo since Jan. 21, 2008. Phoenix has been outscored, 16-4, in four losses since and was blasted, 7-2, when the teams last met on Jan. 18 of last year in Phoenix.

Thomas Vanek and Jochen Hecht both had a goal and two assists in that win, while Vanek has a pair of goals and four assists in six career games versus the Coyotes.

Buffalo has won two straight and four of its last five in Phoenix, and is coming off Thursday's 3-0 triumph in San Jose. Ryan Miller made 36 saves for his third shutout of the season and 20th of his career.

Miller is a perfect 3-0-0 with a 1.00 GAA and one shutout in his career versus the Coyotes.

Vanek scored his team-leading 16th goal of the season and both Hecht and Luke Adam also tallied for the Sabres, who have won three of four and gave head coach Lindy Ruff his 500th career victory.

Ruff, who was hired prior to the 1997-98 season, is by far the longest-tenured head coach in the NHL and tied legendary Montreal Canadiens coach Toe Blake for third on the all-time list of wins with one team.

Buffalo is 1-0-1 on a three-game road trip but has still lost eight of its last 11 as the guest.

01/08 10:47:52 ET


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