AVALANCHE (37-30-4) at SABRES (33-29-8)
TV: NBCSN (HD); TSN2
Last 10: Colorado 7-3-0; Buffalo 7-2-1
Season Series: It's the only meeting of the season between two teams that rarely see each other. They haven't met since the Avs won 4-3 in overtime on Jan. 4, 2011. Colorado has won the four most recent meetings, though the last three wins came after regulation.
Team Scope: The Avs start a tough stretch of three games in four days on the road against Eastern Conference teams as they scramble for one of the last playoff spots in the West. The Sabres figure to be every bit as desperate as Colorado -- Buffalo begins the night four points behind eighth-place Washington. However, the Sabres will be without their best defenseman -- Tyler Myers was suspended by the NHL on Tuesday for three games.
Avalanche: The Avs nearly let a win get away in their last home game before heading East. They blew a one-goal lead in the third period, but rookie Gabriel Landeskog got the overtime winner as Colorado won for the fourth time in five games.
"We're in playoff mode already, and we've been in playoff mode the last couple of weeks," Landeskog said. "We just have to keep it going."
Sabres: Buffalo has been on a roll, going 9-2-1 in its last 12 to climb into the race for eighth place in the East. But the Sabres will be without Myers, who scored the OT winner against the Canadiens on Monday, for a hit on Scott Gomez earlier in the game.
"It's tough. There's no doubt," coach Lindy Ruff said. "He's been a big part of our back end."
Who's Hot: Deadline day acquisition Jamie McGinn has five goals and seven points in his last five games with the Avalanche. … Colorado goaltender Semyon Varlamov made 38 saves in the win against Anaheim and is 7-2-0 with a 1.32 goals-against average and two shutouts over his last nine games. He has allowed more than two goals just once in that stretch. … Varlamov's counterpart, Ryan Miller, is 9-1-1 in his last 11 starts with a 1.78 goals-against average.
Injury Report: Colorado is without center Matt Duchene (ankle) and forward Chuck Kobasew (back). … In addition to the suspension that will sideline Myers, Buffalo is minus forwards Matt Ellis (knee), Cody McCormick (concussion) and Jochen Hecht (concussion).
Stat Pack: Colorado leads the Western Conference with 14 victories in games decided after regulation. The Avs (14-4) and New Jersey Devils (14-5) share the League lead. … The Avs are 21-9-4 in one-goal games this season, tying them with Philadelphia and Tampa Bay for the League lead in one-goal victories.
Puck Drop: Landeskog, the second player chosen in the Entry Draft last June, continues to make a strong case for the Calder Trophy as the NHL's top rookie. He's tied with Philadelphia's Matt Read for the lead in goals by a rookie with 19, including four game-winners, and is second with 44 points. He's also the only member of the Avs to suit up for all 71 games -- he played Monday despite battling an illness.
"I was fighting a little bit, fighting a lot out there," he said.
|D. Van Der Gulik||25||1||5||6||+3||2||0||0|