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Sabres at Penguins preview

Eichel, Crosby aim to end goal-scoring droughts

by Wes Crosby / Correspondent

SABRES (5-9-3) at PENGUINS (9-7-3)



The Game

Center Sidney Crosby hopes to avoid matching the longest goal drought of his NHL career when the Pittsburgh Penguins face the Buffalo Sabres at PPG Paints Arena on Tuesday.

Crosby has three assists in 11 games since scoring four goals in three games from Oct. 14-20. He has gone 12 straight games without a goal once before; he had 17 assists from Nov. 23, 2011, to March 24, 2012, a season when he missed 60 games because of concussion-like symptoms.

The Sabres, 2-4-1 in their past seven games, will look to deny Crosby, who has 51 points (16 goals, 35 assists) in 34 games against them since entering the NHL in 2005.


Players to watch

Like Crosby, Sabres forward Jack Eichel has gone through a goal drought following a strong start to the season. He has three assists in his past eight games after scoring 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in his first nine.

Penguins forward Phil Kessel has scored one goal in each of his past three games after failing to score in his previous five. He has seven points (three goals, four assists) during a four-game point streak.


They said it

"When I look at the Pittsburgh Penguins, they're a fast team. They compete very hard and they battle. … We're going to have to be ready for that battle tonight." -- Sabres coach Phil Housley

"[The Sabres are] very dangerous. They have a lot of skill. A lot of skill up front, in particular." -- Penguins coach Mike Sullivan


Sabres projected lineup

Evander Kane -- Jack Eichel -- Sam Reinhart

Benoit Pouliot -- Ryan O'Reilly -- Kyle Okposo

Matt Moulson -- Johan Larsson -- Jason Pominville

Jordan Nolan -- Zemgus Girgensons -- Nicholas Baptiste

Marco Scandella -- Justin Falk

Jake McCabe -- Taylor Fedun

Josh Gorges -- Nathan Beaulieu

Robin Lehner

Chad Johnson

Scratched: Matt Tennyson, Seth Griffith, Viktor Antipin

Injured: Evan Rodrigues (hand), Zach Bogosian (lower body), Jacob Josefson (lower body), Rasmus Ristolainen (upper body)

Penguins projected lineup

Jake Guentzel -- Sidney Crosby -- Bryan Rust

Carl Hagelin -- Evgeni Malkin -- Phil Kessel

Conor Sheary -- Riley Sheahan -- Patric Hornqvist

Tom Kuhnhackl -- Greg McKegg -- Ryan Reaves

Brian Dumoulin -- Kris Letang

Olli Maatta -- Chad Ruhwedel

Ian Cole -- Justin Schultz

Matt Murray

Tristan Jarry

Scratched: Josh Archibald, Frank Corrado

Injured: Matt Hunwick (concussion), Carter Rowney (hand)


Status report

Scandella will play for the Sabres after missing practice Monday with an undisclosed illness. … Hunwick will miss his 14th consecutive game. He returned to practice Nov. 6 and participated in Pittsburgh's morning skate the following day, but was held off the ice Saturday, Monday and Tuesday.


Stat pack

The Sabres (minus-20) and Penguins (minus-18) have the two worst goal differentials in the Eastern Conference. ... Pittsburgh is 11-0-1 in its past 12 games against Buffalo.

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