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Sabres-Bruins Preview @NHLdotcom

GAME: Buffalo Sabres (44-20-5) at Boston Bruins (27-32-12).

TIME: Saturday, 7 p.m. EST.

The Buffalo Sabres will try to avoid their worst losing streak of the season as they visit the Boston Bruins, a team they've dominated this year.

Buffalo has struggled recently, losing four straight following a season-high eight-game winning streak, including a 3-1 defeat Friday to the Ottawa Senators. The Sabres' losing streak likely has cost them a chance at the Northeast Division title since they now trail the Senators by nine points with 13 games left.

Daniel Briere scored the lone goal for the Sabres, who are 0-for-15 on the power play over the last three games and have been outscored 16-6 in the last four.

"We have to continue to grind away," said Sabres coach Lindy Ruff, whose team is in fourth place in the Eastern Conference playoff race. "The energy level of our team isn't great. We're mucking through it."

Buffalo has not lost five in a row since a seven-game skid from Dec. 4-19, 2003.

The Sabres have won six straight against the Bruins, their Northeast Division rival, outscoring them 23-12. Buffalo also has a five-game point streak at Boston, recording four wins and an overtime loss in its last five trips.

Thomas Vanek has notched three goals and six assists in the six victories against Boston, Ales Kotalik has four goals and four assists and Briere has three goals and five assists.

While the Sabres hope a win over the Bruins will end their latest skid, Boston can do little to avoid missing the playoffs for the first time since 2000-01.

The Bruins lost 4-2 to the New Jersey Devils on Friday and are in 13th place in the Eastern Conference, 10 points behind eighth-place Atlanta with 11 games to go. Boston has lost three straight games and 14 of its last 18.

"We can feel bad for ourselves, but no one else is going to," said Bruins goaltender Andrew Raycroft, who allowed three goals on 15 shots before being pulled in the second period. "We've just got to go out and battle for each other. We have no choice."

Glen Murray and Brad Isbister scored for the Bruins, who gave up two power-play goals on three opportunities.

STANDINGS: Sabres - 93 points, 2nd place, 9 PB, Northeast Division. Bruins - 66 points, 5th place, 36 PB, Northeast Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Sabres - Kotalik and Vanek, 24 goals; Maxim Afinogenov and Teppo Numminen, 36 assists; Afinogenov, 54 points; Andrew Peters, 77 PIM. Bruins - Marco Sturm, 26 goals; Patrice Bergeron, 38 assists and 61 points; Hal Gill, 110 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Sabres - Power play: 20.8 percent (86 for 413), 2nd in NHL. Penalty killing: 86.0 percent (319 for 371), 3rd. Bruins - Power play: 15.6 percent (58 for 371), 24th. Penalty killing: 83.8 percent (351 for 419), 9th (tied).

GOALTENDERS: Sabres - Ryan Miller (25-10-2, 0 SO, 2.51 GAA); Martin Biron (18-7-3, 0, 2.94). Bruins - Tim Thomas (10-8-6, 1, 2.49); Raycroft (8-18-2, 0, 3.67).

SEASON SERIES: Sabres, 6-0.

LAST MEETING: March 12; Sabres, 6-2. At Buffalo, N.Y., Vanek tallied two goals and an assist while Kotalik and Afinogenov each had a goal and two assists to lead the Sabres.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Sabres - 21-10-2 on the road; Bruins - 14-14-7 at home.

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