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Lightning-Sabres Preview @NHLdotcom
Lightning-Sabres Preview

GAME: Tampa Bay Lightning (21-17-3) at Buffalo Sabres (26-12-2).

TIME: Thursday, 7 p.m. EST.

The Tampa Bay Lightning hope to complete a road sweep of New York state opponents as they play the Buffalo Sabres.

The Lightning, who complete their four-game road trip Saturday at Boston, posted a 1-0 overtime victory Tuesday over the New York Rangers. Vaclav Prospal scored the game's lone goal with 1:13 to play, as the Lightning have won both games on the road trip despite scoring only three goals.

"We haven't been scoring much," Prospal said. "We've needed good goaltending."

Grahame provided the good goaltending with 36 saves for his second shutout, the first time in eight games he allowed fewer than three goals.

"It's huge," Grahame said. "It was just a great team effort. The guys got it done at the end. We just kept grinding and battling and I was able to make some saves."

Grahame has struggled in two losses to the Sabres this season, including one by shootout. He has given up seven goals overall, including four in a 4-1 defeat Dec. 23.

The Sabres have won seven of their last 10 games this season but are trying to bounce back from Monday's 2-1 home loss to the Florida Panthers. Buffalo had a five-game home winning streak snapped and lost to Florida for the third time this season.

"We just can't sit back and rely on the power play," Sabres forward Tim Connolly said. "We have to be better 5-on-5 and we have to be more disciplined earlier in the game."

The Sabres have won three of their last four against Tampa Bay.

STANDINGS (through Jan. 4): Lightning - 45 points, 2nd place, 9 PB, Southeast Division. Sabres - 54 points, 2nd place, 5 PB, Northeast Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Lightning - Vaclav Prospal and Fredrik Modin, 17 goals; Brad Richards, 29 assists; Prospal, 44 points; Pavel Kubina, 62 PIM. Sabres - Ales Kotalik, 17 goals; Connolly, 24 assists and 32 points; Maxim Afinogenov, 44 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Jan. 4): Lightning - Power play: 13.9 percent (35 for 251), 27th in NHL. Penalty killing: 82.1 percent (174 for 212), 16th. Sabres - Power play: 21.6 percent (51 for 236), 3rd. Penalty killing: 84.6 percent (182 for 215), tied for 7th.

GOALTENDERS: Lightning - Grahame (16-13-1, 2 SO, 2.84 GAA); Sean Burke (5-3-2, 0, 2.70). Sabres - Martin Biron (15-5-2, 0, 3.07); Ryan Miller (10-5-0, 0, 2.37).

SEASON SERIES: Sabres, 2-0.

LAST MEETING: Dec. 23, 2005; Sabres, 4-1. At Tampa, Fla., Chris Drury second-period goal snapped a 1-1 tie while Henrik Tallinder and Ales Kotalik followed with goals for the Sabres.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Lightning - 10-8-2 on the road; Sabres - 13-6-1 at home.

Associated Press
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