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Hurricanes-Sabres Preview @NHLdotcom

GAME: Carolina Hurricanes at Buffalo Sabres.

PLAYOFF SERIES: Eastern Conference finals; Sabres lead 2-1.

TIME: Friday, 7:30 p.m. EDT.

Unfortunately, injuries are mounting to the defense corps of the Buffalo Sabres.

Fortunately, so are playoff wins.

After losing another key defenseman, the Sabres look to take a commanding 3-1 series lead as over the Carolina Hurricanes as their Eastern Conference final series continues at HSBC Arena.

The Sabres learned Thursday they would be without blueliner Henrik Tallinder for the remainder of the playoffs. Tallinder, who had two goals and six assists while sharing the team lead with a plus-14 rating, suffered a broken left arm in a collision in Wednesday's 4-3 win that gave Buffalo a 2-1 series advantage.

"You feel terrible for Henrik. He's played tremendous but now he won't be part of the ride," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said.

Tallinder joins veteran defenseman Teppo Numminen (groin) and Dmitri Kalinin (ankle) on the sidelines as the Sabres are two wins shy of their first Stanley Cup Finals appearance since 1999. Despite the injuries, Ruff is still expecting a top effort from his available players.

"I think it kind of sums up our year," Ruff said. "When we've been slapped with adversity, we have rose to the occasion."

Brian Campbell is now the team's top blueliner by default, and Ruff is considering using rookie right wing Jason Pominville as a defenseman. While the 23-year-old Pominville has played the point on Buffalo's power-play units, he has never played defense for a prolonged period of time.

Jeff Jillson, Doug Janik and rookie Nathan Paetsch will also be under intense scrutiny filling in for the injured trio. Jillson was on the ice for one of Carolina's goals but also provided a thunderous open-ice check on 'Canes center Matt Cullen.

"I'm not going to lie, it was definitely a tough year," said Jillson, who played just two regular-season games. "So it's a great feeling, but it's just one game. ... I'm just happy to be involved right now."

Daniel Briere scored two goals in Wednesday's win, his second multigoal game of this postseason. He has seven goals and a team-high 17 points for the Sabres, who are 10-4 in the playoffs.

"We just know that we can bounce back from bad outings, bad games and tough breaks," said Briere. "It's not something you can't teach."

While the Sabres are looking for healthy bodies, the Hurricanes are looking for answers after allowing three second-period goals that created an insurmountable deficit Wednesday. Coach Peter Laviolette pulled Cam Ward after he allowed four goals in 26 shots and has not committed to starting him for this game.

"We learned from the experience, we know what we're capable of doing," said Ward, who had allowed 14 goals in his previous nine games. "But it's just a matter of going out there and doing it. It's one thing to talk in the dressing room, it's another to execute on the ice."

Hurricanes center Eric Staal, who had a third-period goal, has six goals and 12 assists in a 14-game postseason points streak.

The series will return to Carolina for Game 5 on Sunday. If the Hurricanes win this game, Game 6 will be Tuesday at Buffalo.

HOW THEY GOT HERE: Hurricanes - 2nd seed; beat Montreal Canadiens 4-2, quarterfinals; beat New Jersey Devils 4-1, semifinals. Sabres - 4th seed; beat Philadelphia Flyers 4-2, quarterfinals; beat Ottawa Senators 4-1; semifinals.

PLAYOFF TEAM LEADERS: Hurricanes - Rod Brind'Amour, 7 goals; Staal, 12 assists and 18 points; Mike Commodore, 25 PIM. Sabres - Chris Drury, 8 goals; Briere, 10 assists and 17 points; Jay McKee, 26 PIM.

PLAYOFF SPECIAL TEAMS: Hurricanes - Power play: 26.5 percent (18-for-68). Penalty killing: 81.3 percent (61-for-75). Sabres - Power play: 18.3 percent (15-for-82). Penalty killing: 84.0 percent (63-for-75).

GOALTENDERS: Hurricanes - Ward (9-4, 1 SO, 2.23 GAA); Martin Gerber (0-1, 4.29). Sabres - Ryan Miller (10-4, 1, 2.41); Martin Biron (no appearances).

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