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Blackhawks try to keep Sabres winless

by Brian Hedger /

SABRES (0-4-1) at BLACKHAWKS (2-1-1)


Season series: This is the first of two meeting between the Chicago Blackhawks and Buffalo Sabres this season; the teams won't see each other again until March 9 at First Niagara Center. The last time they played each other was Jan. 18, 2012 at United Center, when the Blackhawks routed the Sabres 6-2 by breaking a 2-2 deadlock with four straight goals. All six Chicago goals were scored against Jhonas Enroth, including two by Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews.

Big story: Chicago is looking to sweep its first of 18 sets of back-to-back games this season and the only one with both games on home ice. The Blackhawks were outstanding in back-to-back games last season, going 20-2-2 overall - posting identical 10-1-1 records in the first and second games. Buffalo is looking for its first victory of the season.

Team Scope:

Sabres: Buffalo comes into this game with two power-play goals in 18 opportunities (11.1 percent) and is averaging one goal a game. Emotions are starting to boil already inside the locker room and on the ice. After losing 4-1 on home ice Thursday to the Columbus Blue Jackets, defenseman Mike Weber vented afterward about the pass the Sabres are getting from some because they have such an inexperienced group.

"I'm tired of hearing it's a young team, I'm really tired of hearing it," said Weber, who finished the game with a minus-4 rating. "There's no excuses in here. All these guys have played now five games in this League. We need to find a way. We're going to make mistakes. But we need to make plays. We need to generate something. We need to get something going."

Blackhawks: After leaving three points on the table in a pair of stinging defeats, Chicago got back to winning by grinding out a 3-2 win against the New York Islanders on Friday night at United Center. It wasn't their prettiest game, but coach Joel Quenneville didn't complain about the two points.

"We've been close the last few nights," Toews said after the game, in which he scored his second goal of the season. "In the game against St. Louis and obviously against Tampa Bay we felt that there [were] a few points there that we left on the table. [This] could be one of those nights where you maybe fall into that trend, where you start squeezing the stick a little bit too hard late in the game when you're only up one goal, but I think we just maintained our composure."

Who's hot: Thomas Vanek has scored goals in two of the past three games. He and Cody Hodgson have points in three straight games for the Sabres. … Toews has scored in back-to-back games, putting up a pair of goals and an assist, while Patrick Kane scored a goal in the first three games of the season.

Injury report: Buffalo's Nikita Zadorov (hand) is questionable, while Ville Leino (ribs), Corey Tropp (jaw) and Henrik Tallinder (upper body) are out. … The Blackhawks report no injuries.

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