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Penguins return home to face Sabres

by Jon Lane

SABRES (14-29-7) at PENGUINS (36-14-2)


Last 10: Buffalo 3-4-3, Pittsburgh 7-2-1

Season series: The Buffalo Sabres and Pittsburgh Penguins play the second of three games this season. Sidney Crosby and Chuck Kobasew each scored, and Marc-Andre Fleury made 20 saves, in the Penguins' 4-1 win on Oct. 5.

Big story: Although the Penguins remain the class of the Metropolitan Division and the Eastern Conference and are 7-2-1 in their past 10 games, those two losses against the Dallas Stars and Florida Panthers were by a combined score of 8-1. After going 1-1 on a two-game road trip, Pittsburgh returns to Consol Energy Center, where it's an Eastern Conference best 21-4-0.

However, the Penguins cannot overlook the Sabres, who snapped an 0-3-2 slide Saturday with a surprising win against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday.

Team Scope:

Sabres: Sitting in last place in the Atlantic Division, Buffalo enjoyed the spoiler's role by earning a victory against the Blue Jackets that impacted a tight race in the Metropolitan Division. Shorthanded goals from Christian Ehrhoff and Marcus Foligno gave the Sabres a 5-2 victory that ended Columbus' eight-game winning streak while snapping Buffalo's five-game skid.

''It feels good. It feels good to be a spoiler,'' Foligno said. ''The odds were against us, they were on a roll and have been playing pretty well. Their power play's been good and we got two goals off of it, which is great.''

Penguins: Pittsburgh could solve neither Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen nor Dallas' power play in a 3-0 loss Saturday at American Airlines Center. The Penguins' top-ranked penalty-killing unit allowed two goals that ended a streak of 11 straight successful kills.

''They capitalized on their power plays. We didn't,'' Crosby said. ''We didn't execute when we got chances. They carried the play for the first two periods.''

Crosby is expected to have a new right wing Monday. Brian Gibbons took part in the morning skate and will play after missing five games with a lower-body injury.

Who's hot: Sabres goalie Ryan Miller made 36 saves Saturday to earn the win despite his team being outshot 38-22. Center Cody Hodgson has eight points (four goals, four assists) in seven games since returning from a hand injury … Penguins defenseman Matt Niskanen's career-high six-game point streak (two goals, seven assists) ended Saturday. Center Evgeni Malkin has five points (2-3-5) in his past five games. Defenseman Kris Letang is 2-2-4 in his past five. Sidney Crosby is 2-3-5 in his past five.

Injury report: Sabres forwards Ville Leino (upper body) and Drew Stafford (upper body) were injured Saturday. Stafford did not skate with the team Monday, but Leino will play against the Penguins. Right wing Matt D'Agostini (upper body) and center Cody McCormick (upper body) are on injured reserve … Penguins forwards Beau Bennett (wrist surgery), Chris Conner (hand surgery), Pascal Dupuis (knee surgery) and Joe Vitale (sprained right wrist), and goalie Tomas Vokoun (blood clot, hip) are on IR.


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