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NHL Preview from The Sports Network

Saturday, January 27th (All times eastern)

Buffalo Sabres (33-13-4) at New York Islanders (22-21-5), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Buffalo Sabres will attempt to keep up their recent mastery of the New York Islanders when the two teams square off this evening at Nassau Coliseum.

The Sabres will be shooting for their seventh consecutive victory in this series and fourth straight win on the Island. Buffalo has won both earlier meetings with New York this season, including a 3-0 decision at Nassau Coliseum on October 26.

Prior to this string of losses, the Islanders had claimed seven wins in a row over Buffalo. However, New York hasn't beaten the Sabres since February 27, 2004, when it came through with a 4-2 decision on the road.

Buffalo tops the Eastern Conference with 70 points but has not been playing its best hockey as of late. The Sabres have dropped five of their last seven contests, including Friday's 3-2 setback at Columbus in their first game back from the All-Star break. Rostislav Klesla and Dan Fritsche both had third- period goals to lead the Blue Jackets to the come-from-behind win.

Chris Drury tallied both goals for the Sabres, with All-Star Game MVP Daniel Briere assisting on each of those markers. Ryan Miller stopped 24 of 27 shots in defeat.

Tonight's matchup concludes a string of three straight road games for Buffalo, which began with a 4-3 loss at Montreal last Saturday. The Sabres are still a strong 17-6-2 away from home for the season.

New York was also a loser on Friday, as Ilya Kovalchuk scored 2:59 into overtime to lift the Atlanta Thrashers to a 5-4 victory over the Isles at Philips Arena.

All-Star Jason Blake had a goal and one assist for New York, which lost for the fourth time in five chances, while Trent Hunter, Miroslav Satan, and Chris Campoli also lit the lamp.

Islanders goaltender Rick DiPietro was burned for three goals on only five shots over the game's first 5 1/2 minutes. He was replaced by Mike Dunham, who made 26 saves despite receiving the loss.

New York is 11-9-3 as the host this season but has fallen in each of its last four games at the Coliseum. The Islanders' last home win was a 2-0 triumph over the crosstown-rival Rangers on December 26.

01/27 10:31:49 ET

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