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Kings hope to finish homestand on winning note

by Brian Compton
SABRES (30-12-6) at KINGS (27-19-3)

Last 10: Buffalo 7-1-2; Los Angeles 5-5-0.

Season series: This is the lone meeting between the teams. They last faced each other on Dec. 19, 2008, when Ryan Miller stopped all 40 shots he faced in Buffalo's 5-0 victory at HSBC Arena.

Big story: Earlier in the season, it seemed as if nothing was going to stop Los Angeles from reaching the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in eight years. Suddenly, though, the Kings are in a dogfight, as they find themselves in eighth place in the Western Conference, just one point ahead of the Detroit Red Wings.

Team Scope:

Sabres: Thursday marks the fourth of a seven-game road trip for Buffalo, which his off to a 2-1-1 start. After earning an impressive 7-2 win at Phoenix on Monday, the Sabres experienced a bit of a setback on Tuesday in a 4-3 loss at Anaheim. Patrick Lalime was chased after allowing the first four goals of the game, but the Sabres nearly rallied to tie it.

"Lindy told us that we had a chance to come back," Lalime said. "We were already on a power play, so he said 'Let's get one here, because you never know what can happen.' We showed a lot of character after being down 4-0, so you have to look at the positives. Everyone in this room never gave up and kept playing hard."

Kings: Searching for its third straight win on Tuesday night, Los Angeles was trounced in a 5-1 loss to the San Jose Sharks at the Staples Center. The Kings could have moved into sixth place in the conference with a victory, but instead allowed three goals in the first period. Los Angeles concludes a seven-game homestand on Thursday and has won only twice thus far.

"We have to grab a hold of these opportunities," Kings coach Terry Murray said. "You start to let them slip away, and you want to turn the table, and the next thing you know, it's too late to turn the table. We've got to jump on those games in front of us right now."

Who's hot: Sabres center Tim Connolly scored his 100th career goal on Tuesday night and extended his points streak to 13 games. … Kings forward Wayne Simmonds has 16 points in his last 21 contests, including the lone goal for Los Angeles against the Sharks on Tuesday.

Injury report: Buffalo is boasting a healthy lineup. … Matt Greene (lower body), Davis Drewiske (shoulder), Justin Williams (ankle) and Andrei Loktionov are out for Los Angeles.

Stat pack: Special teams has played a major role in the Kings' lack of success on their homestand. They are 0-for-21 on the power play in their last four games.

Puck drop: "I think part of the responsibility lies with the leadership group, but ultimately each individual has to prepare themselves. If we all prepare ourselves individually, and get ready for the game, we go out and we do our thing and we're fine." -- Kings captain Dustin Brown
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