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NHL Preview from The Sports Network

Friday, March 26th (All times eastern)

Pittsburgh Penguins (21-45-7-4) at Buffalo Sabres (34-32-6-4), 8 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Buffalo Sabres try to spark fading playoff hopes tonight when they welcome the Pittsburgh Penguins to HSBC Arena for the opener of a home-and-home.

With 78 points, the Sabres trail the NY Islanders by eight for the final postseason spot in the Eastern Conference. Buffalo has six games remaining, while New York will play five more times.

On Wednesday, Adam Mair's second-period goal was the difference as the Sabres skated past the Montreal Canadiens, 2-1, at HSBC Arena.

J.P. Dumont also tallied for the Sabres, who managed their third win in four games. The Sabres are chasing after their first playoff berth since Dominik Hasek was traded to Detroit in 2001.

The Sabres' Martin Biron stopped 24-of-25 shots for the win, while Mathieu Garon allowed two goals on 33 shots at the other end.

Buffalo, which had lost three straight on home ice, will visit the Penguins on Saturday.

Pittsburgh, long absent from the playoff race, has won its last three games and is 8-1-1 in the last 10. On Tuesday, Lasse Pirjeta scored two goals and added an assist, while Jean-Sebastien Aubin stopped 35 shots to lead the Penguins over the New York Rangers, 5-2, at Madison Square Garden.

Milan Kraft, Rico Fata and Konstantin Koltsov each added goals for the Penguins, who swept a home-and-home set from the Blueshirts.

The Penguins have been playing very well of late, but still have just 53 points and are currently in last place in the Eastern Conference -- two points behind the 14th-place Washington Capitals.

Pittsburgh is 2-0 against Buffalo this season, and 7-0-2 in the last nine meetings. The Pens are 3-0-1 in their last four trips to HSBC Arena.

03/26 10:31:23 ET

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