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Sabres-Thrashers Preview

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GAME: Buffalo Sabres (44-17-5) at Atlanta Thrashers (32-29-6).

TIME: Monday, 7 p.m. EST.

With their eight-game winning streak now history, the Buffalo Sabres look to bounce back against one of the only two teams to defeat them this month.

The Sabres, who saw their streak snapped with a 4-2 loss to Ottawa on Saturday, visit an Atlanta Thrashers club scrapping for a playoff berth.

Buffalo's latest winning streak was its longest since winning 10 in a row in 1984. The Sabres failed in an attempt to overtake the Senators for the Northeast Division lead.

"For a game like this, there's no excuses," said Daniel Briere, who scored his 20th goal of the season in the loss. "We seem to play well against the Senators when we play at home, but there's some guys that have to show up on the road."

Ottawa outshot the Sabres 49-22 in the contest. Goaltender Ryan Miller helped keep Buffalo in the game, making a career-high 45 saves.

Atlanta had been the last team to beat the Sabres prior to Saturday's defeat. The Thrashers ended a four-game losing streak in the series with Buffalo with a 4-2 road win on March 1.

The Thrashers went on to win five of their next eight games, but are currently coming off a 4-2 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday.

"We came out flat and it cost us in the end," Thrashers center Marc Savard said. "We missed some chances ... This was an important time and we just couldn't cash in."

Atlanta is 10th in the Eastern Conference standings, but just one point behind the Montreal Canadiens for the eighth and final playoff spot.

Serge Aubin needed help leaving the ice Saturday after suffering a sprained right knee midway through the opening period. Thrashers coach Bob Hartley said Aubin was "doing much better" after the game, though the Atlanta center's status for Monday wasn't disclosed.

STANDINGS: Sabres - 93 points, 2nd place, 5 PB, Northeast Division. Thrashers - 70 points, 3rd place, 26 PB, Southeast Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Sabres - Ales Kotalik, 24 goals; Teppo Numminen, 36 assists; Ales Kotalik and Maxim Afinogenov, 53 points; Maxim Afinogenov, 64 PIM. Thrashers - Ilya Kovalchuk, 42 goals and 82 points; Marc Savard, 56 assists; Andy Sutton, 110 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Sabres - Power play: 21.6 percent (86 for 398), 2nd in NHL. Penalty killing: 85.8 percent (301 for 351), 3rd. Thrashers - Power play: 19.1 percent (85 for 446), 6th. Penalty killing: 80.0 percent (332 for 415), 25th.

GOALTENDERS: Sabres - Miller (25-9-2, 0 SO, 2.47 GAA); Martin Biron (18-6-3, 0, 2.87). Thrashers - Kari Lehtonen (15-12-0, 1, 2.74); Mike Dunham (4-4-1, 1, 2.79).

SEASON SERIES: Sabres, 2-1.

LAST MEETING: March 1; Thrashers, 4-2. At Buffalo, N.Y., Brad Larsen's two third-period goals gave Atlanta a three-goal lead, from which the Sabres were unable to come back.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Sabres - 21-9-2 on the road; Thrashers - 18-13-4 at home.

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