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Sabres-Bruins Preview @NHL
Sabres-Bruins Preview

GAME: Buffalo Sabres (10-9-0) at Boston Bruins (7-8-5).

TIME: Saturday, 7 p.m. EST.

The struggling Boston Bruins look to avoid their season-high fifth straight loss when they meet the Buffalo Sabres at TD Banknorth Garden.

Boston is coming off a 4-1 loss Thursday to the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Bruins, who have been outscored 18-8 during the skid, have not lost five in a row since Dec. 30, 2002-Jan. 10, 2003.

"You need to keep working, you have to make your own breaks and you make your own bounces," veteran forward Tom Fitzgerald said during practice Friday.

"It will come ... It's like one step forward and two steps back. Its about being mentally strong and not dwelling on things."

Boston has been outscored 9-3 in the third period during the losing streak, while goaltender Andrew Raycroft has gone 0-3 with a 4.35 goals-against average and .868 save percentage.

"If I knew what was wrong, we would have won the last six," said Raycroft, the 2004 Calder Trophy winner.

Leading scorer Joe Thornton has been held without a goal in his last three games.

Buffalo won for the third time in four games with an 8-5 victory Thursday over the Washington Capitals. Taylor Pyatt recorded his second career hat trick for the Sabres.

"Hopefully I can keep things going," Pyatt said. "I just have to try and ride the wave when things are going good."

Pyatt has just two goals and three assists in 17 career games against Boston.

The Sabres have also gotten production recently from defenseman Teppo Numminen. The 17-year veteran has five assists in his last three games.

Buffalo has won two of its last three in Boston after an 0-6-1 slide there from Nov. 17, 2001 to Jan. 12, 2004.

STANDINGS (through Nov. 18): Sabres - 20 points, 4th place, 9 PB, Northeast Division. Bruins - 19 points, 5th place, 10 PB, Northeast Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Sabres - Daniel Briere, 11 goals and 19 points; Numminen, 13 assists; Thomas Vanek, Jochen Hecht, Paul Gaustad and Adam Mair, 16 PIM. Bruins - Sergei Samsonov and Glen Murray, 9 goals; Thornton, 20 assists and 27 points; Hal Gill, 36 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Nov. 18): Sabres - Power play: 21.6 percent (26 for 120), 5th in NHL. Penalty killing: 81.1 percent (73 for 90), 18th. Bruins - Power play: 19.2 percent (24 for 125), 10th. Penalty killing: 84.3 percent (113 for 134), 9th.

GOALTENDERS: Sabres - Martin Biron (4-4-0, 0, 4.04); Mika Noronen (0-1-0, 0 SO, 7.37 GAA). Bruins - Raycroft (3-7-2, 0, 3.60); Hannu Toivonen (4-1-3, 0, 3.24).

SEASON SERIES: Sabres, 2-0.

LAST MEETING: Oct. 20; Sabres, 4-3. At Boston, Ales Kotalik scored the game-winning goal early in the third period.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Sabres - 3-5-0 on the road; Bruins - 4-4-1 at home.

Associated Press
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