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Tuesday, March 4th (All times eastern)

Buffalo Sabres (31-26-9) at Philadelphia Flyers (33-25-8), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - A pair of teams battling for playoff spots will meet for the final time in the regular season tonight, as the Philadelphia Flyers host the Buffalo Sabres at the Wachovia Center.

The Flyers are currently holding onto the eighth and final postseason berth in the Eastern Conference with 74 points. Buffalo is just three points behind in ninth place.

The Sabres won the first two meetings of the year against Philadelphia, but the Flyers came out on top in an exciting battle on February 25 in western New York. Philadelphia won that game 4-3 after Danny Briere netted the deciding shootout tally against his former team.

Buffalo has still won five of seven and eight of the last 11 meetings with the Flyers and Philadelphia is 2-9 with a tie in its previous 12 tests at HSBC Arena.

The Flyers were on the wrong end of a shootout in their last outing, as they dropped a 5-4 road decision to the rival New York Rangers. Brendan Shanahan and Nigel Dawes each tallied in the shootout and Martin Straka had a goal and an assist in regulation to lift the Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

Shanahan went first for the Rangers in the shootout and beat Martin Biron with a wrister high to the glove side to give the home team the advantage. After Kimmo Timonen was stopped by Stephen Valiquette, Dawes scored on a backhander that got through the five hole of the Philadelphia netminder.

Jeff Carter, who tallied twice for the Flyers in regulation, needed to score to keep the shootout alive, but hit the left post on a wrist shot and the Rangers prevailed.

Vinny Prospal and Braydon Coburn also tallied for the Flyers, who had a three- game winning streak halted.

Antero Niittymaki started in goal for the Flyers and turned aside 10-of-14 shots, but was lifted in favor of Biron 1:51 into the second period. Biron made 21 saves in relief. Scottie Upshall and Timonen each chipped in with a pair of helpers in defeat.

Tonight's test marks the opener of a three-game homestand for Philly, which is just 14-12-6 as the hosts this season. The Flyers have lost six of their last seven home tilts.

The Sabres, meanwhile, have lost two straight, four of five and six of their last nine outings.

Buffalo's latest setback came Sunday against the visiting Detroit Red Wings. Johan Franzen and Valtteri Filppula each had a goal and an assist, and Dominik Hasek stopped 22 shots to lead Detroit to the 4-2 decision.

Patrick Kaleta and Jason Pominville lit the lamp for the Sabres. Ryan Miller turned aside 35-of-39 shots in defeat.

Pominville has notched a point in eight straight games, tying him with Boston's Marco Sturm and Marc Savard for the longest current point streaks in the NHL.

The Sabres are 14-14-5 as the visiting club this year, but have won three of four and six of their last eight road tests.

03/04 10:43:34 ET


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