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Canucks aim for third straight road win vs. Sabres

by Eric Goodman /

CANUCKS (4-3-0) at SABRES (1-6-1)


Season series: This is the first of two meetings this season. The Buffalo Sabres are 4-1-0 in their last five games against the Vancouver Canucks and will try to make it three wins in a row over the Western Conference club.

Big story: Buffalo finally got its first win of the season Tuesday at the New York Islanders and seeks to keep its recent dominance over the Canucks going Thursday. Vancouver can establish a three-game road winning streak with a victory at the Sabres.

Team Scope:

Canucks: Vancouver has experienced a bit of a cold streak recently with losses in two of its last three games while averaging just 1.66 goals-for over that span. A 3-2 road win Tuesday against the Philadelphia Flyers has the potential to provide a much-needed spark as the Canucks continue a seven-game road trip, their longest of the season.

Coach John Tortorella executed an unconventional move in Philadelphia by placing twin forwards Henrik Sedin and Daniel Sedin on separate lines midway through the third period in an attempt to jump start the struggling offense. Henrik centered for Chris Higgins and Ryan Kesler, and those two scored the game-tying and game-winning goals, respectively.

"Listen, [the twins] play really well together, and it's very tough to split them up, but I think at times that's going to happen," Tortorella told "I think as you go through the game, those are calls we'll make, but it's awful tough to keep them away from one another because they play so very well together."

Sabres: Buffalo might not have many points in the standings, but it's been involved in six one-goal decisions out of its first eight games. The team's ability to stay close can be attributed to the stellar play of goaltender Ryan Miller, who has faced 40 or more shots three times already. Miller was solid again Tuesday with 41 saves against the Islanders through regulation and overtime. He stopped two of three attempts in the shootout to earn his first win of the season.

"It gives us a chance to feel good for a little while and see if we can build. The key now is to build,” Miller said.

Who's hot: Henrik Sedin has been held scoreless just once this season. He's registered a goal and eight assists over seven games. … For Buffalo, center Cody Hodgson has at least a point in six of his last seven games, totaling one goal and five assists over that span.

Injury report: Forward Alexandre Burrows is out with a lower-body injury for Vancouver, while defenseman Alexander Edler will serve the last of his three-game suspension Thursday for an elbowing incident Oct. 10 against the San Jose Sharks. … For the Sabres, forward Zemgus Girgensons left Tuesday's game after taking a puck in the face in the first period; he didn't return and is questionable. Forward Patrick Kaleta was assessed a 10-game suspension by the NHL on Tuesday for a hit against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Oct. 10 and is eligible to return Nov. 7, having already served two games while awaiting the disciplinary hearing. Defenseman Nikita Zadorov has not played a game this season and is questionable with a hand injury. Forwards Ville Leino (ribs) and Corey Tropp (jaw) remain out indefinitely.

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