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Red-hot Canucks head to Buffalo

by Brian Compton
CANUCKS (10-4-2) at SABRES (6-9-3)

TV: SNET-P, MSG-Buffalo.

Last 10: Vancouver 8-1-1; Buffalo 4-4-2.

Season Series: This is the lone meeting between the teams. They haven't faced each other since Jan. 25, when Vancouver earned a 3-2 victory at Rogers Arena.

Big Story: The Canucks are rolling. They picked up their eighth win in their last 10 games on Saturday night, as Ryan Kesler scored twice in a 5-3 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre. The win allowed the Canucks to increase their lead in the Northwest Division to five points.

"It was a little sloppy out there, but we worked hard," Kesler said. "We got the goals at the right time and found a way to win. That's the important thing. We found a way to win and that's what good teams do on the road."

Team Scope:

Canucks: Vancouver owed its goaltender a debt of gratitude after Saturday's win. Roberto Luongo made 16 saves in the third period to keep his team in the game, and it paid off when Mason Raymond beat Leafs goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere from the top of the circle with 6:24 remaining.

"Last year we came back in a lot of games," forward Daniel Sedin said. "We knew we could do it. We stuck with it and we came through."

Sabres: Buffalo became the last team in the NHL to win a home game this season when Thomas Vanek scored with a minute left in overtime as the Sabres earned a 3-2 victory against the Washington Capitals at HSBC Arena.

"It was nice to find our game the last three games on the road, and tonight was a big home win finally for us," Vanek said. "It was overdue."

Who's Hot: Henrik and Daniel Sedin lead the Canucks with 20 points apiece. Eighteen of Henrik's 20 points are assists, while Daniel has 11 goals. Meanwhile, Kesler has 12 points in his last 12 games. … Derek Roy has 19 points (8 goals, 11 assists) in 18 games for Buffalo.

Injury Report: Canucks forwards Guillaume Desbiens (broken hand) and Alexandre Bolduc (ankle) are out, as are defensemen Sami Salo (ACL) and Ryan Parent (groin). … Sabres forwards Nathan Gerbe (jaw) and Drew Stafford (upper body) are out, while defenseman Craig Rivet (flu) is questionable.

Stat Pack: Kesler has 11 multi-goal games in his career, but has yet to record a hat trick. … Buffalo is just 2-for-31 on the power play in its last eight games.

Puck Drop: "That's the sign of a great team. Even if we don't have our best, we're going to stick to the game plan and grind it out. That's what we did tonight." -- Canucks center Ryan Kesler after Saturday's win at Toronto

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