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Canucks hope to make it five in a row against Sabres

by Brian Compton
SABRES (30-13-7) at CANUCKS (31-18-2)

Last 10: Buffalo 5-2-3; Vancouver 7-2-1.

Season Series: This is the lone meeting between the teams. They last met on Oct. 17, 2008, when Thomas Vanek had a goal and two assists in Buffalo's 5-2 win at HSBC Arena.

Big Story: Monday night's game features a pair of Olympians and two of the League's best goaltenders. Buffalo's Ryan Miller has all but locked up the No. 1 job for Team USA next month, while Vancouver captain Roberto Luongo will likely battle with New Jersey's Martin Brodeur for that position with Canada.

Team Scope:

Sabres: Buffalo will be concluding a seven-game road trip in Vancouver -- a trip that went south when the team arrived in California last week. The Sabres went 0-3 with Saturday's 5-2 loss at San Jose despite outshooting the Sharks 40-24. Buffalo also lost in Anaheim on Tuesday and Los Angeles on Thursday. Overall, the Sabres are 2-2-2 on the trip.

"We let the time hang around and they didn't miss on their opportunities," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said after Saturday's defeat. "I think we doubled up on our opportunities all night. We were disappointed that we didn't take advantage of them and we made a couple of mistakes."

Canucks: Vancouver has played extremely well as of late, and enters this one with a four-game winning streak. The Canucks' most recent victory came on Saturday night, an impressive 5-1 win against Chicago that came without three of Vancouver's top defensemen. Monday marks the third of a four-game homestand for the Canucks.

"Obviously, we're missing some of our best D-men, and guys that are usually second or third pairing played lots of minutes," said Luongo, who made 43 saves.

Who's Hot: Buffalo center Tim Connolly has a career-high 15-game points streak. He has 7 goals and 15 assists during that span. … Canucks forward Alex Burrows has an 11-game points streak, while Henrik Sedin leads the League with 74 points. He had two goals and an assist on Saturday against the Blackhawks.

Injury Report: Canucks defenseman Sami Salo is doubtful with a groin strain, while Willie Mitchell (upper body) is day-to-day. Rick Rypien missed his third straight game on Saturday with what the team believes is food poisoning and is questionable for Monday. Kevin Bieksa (ankle) and Alexandre Bolduc (shoulder) are out.

Stat Pack: Buffalo is 21-3-3 when scoring first. … Canucks defenseman Shane O'Brien, a healthy scratch earlier in the season, played more than 22 minutes on Saturday night.

Puck Drop: "Anytime your goaltender is better than their goaltender, you probably stand a good chance of winning that game." -- Canucks coach Alain Vigneault after Luongo's 43-save performance on Saturday

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