GAME: Tampa Bay Lightning (31-17-7-4) at Buffalo Sabres (27-26-6-1).
TIME: Friday, 8 p.m. EST.
The Buffalo Sabres look to extend their five-game unbeaten streak and inch
closer to an Eastern Conference playoff spot as they host the Southeast
Division-leading Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Sabres tied the Florida Panthers 1-1 on Wednesday, ending their
four-game winning streak.
Eric Boulton scored just over four minutes into the game for Buffalo, which
is in ninth place in the East, five points behind Montreal and the New York
Islanders for the eighth and final postseason spot.
Despite earning the point, the Sabres were somewhat disappointed in their
play against the Panthers.
Buffalo failed to score more than once for the first time since a 2-1 loss
to Philadelphia on Jan. 24 - a span of nine games. The Sabres had scored 21
goals in their previous three games, their best stretch in over 10 years.
"We didn't have the killer instinct around the net we've had recently,"
center Daniel Briere said. "Give credit to (Florida goalie Roberto) Luongo. He
played well. But it's one of those nights where the puck didn't want to go in
The Sabres went 0-for-7 on the power-play, failing to score on the man
advantage for the first time in nine games.
"We could've played another 60 minutes and we weren't going to score
again," said coach Lindy Ruff, whose team has gone 8-1-1 over its last 10
The Lightning are coming off Thursday's 4-3 overtime defeat to the St. Louis
Blues - just their second loss in 13 games (10-1-1-1). Cory Stillman, who has
21 points in his last 14 games, had a goal and an assist for Tampa Bay.
The Lightning, who have earned a point in 19 of their last 21 games, are
27-0-1-3 when scoring three or more goals, which they have done in 13 of their
last 15 games.
STANDINGS: Lightning - 73 points, 1st place, Southeast Division. Sabres - 61
points, 5th place, 17 PB, Northeast Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Lightning - Martin St. Louis, 29 goals, 37 assists and 66
points; Chris Dingman, 124 PIM. Sabres - Miroslav Satan, 22 goals; Briere, 26
assists and 46 points; Andrew Peters, 107 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS (through Feb. 18): Lightning - Power play: 16.1 percent (40
for 249), 16th in NHL. Penalty killing: 85.1 percent (171 for 201), 9th. Sabres
- Power play: 15.6 percent (41 for 263), 19th. Penalty killing: 85.6 percent
(225 for 263), 3rd.
GOALTENDERS: Lightning - Nikolai Khabibulin (16-15-6, 2 SO, 2.37 GAA); John
Grahame (15-6-1, 1, 1.76). Sabres - Martin Biron (16-11-4, 0, 2.52); Mika
Noronen (11-13-2, 2, 2.16).
SEASON SERIES: Lightning, 2-0.
LAST MEETING: Dec. 6; Lightning, 3-1. At Buffalo, Dave Andreychuk scored the
eventual game-winner at 10:30 of the second period, and Khabibulin stopped 37
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Lightning - 15-10-3-2 on the road; Sabres - 16-10-4-1 at