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Game Day Preview: Carolina Hurricanes vs. Buffalo Sabres

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Tonight's game down at the the HSBC Arena is going to be a big one for both of these teams.  Right now, the Hurricanes and the Sabres are seperated by 5 points in the Eastern Conference standings, the Sabres being tied for 7th and the Hurricanes back in 9th.  An effective four-point game for the Sabres will give them some separation in the Conference. The playoff picture itself is getting murky with five teams separated by three points in the 4th-8th positions.

In terms of the team itself, they are riding high after their comeback win against the San Jose Sharks in the shootout.  The Sabres gave up 3-0 and 4-1 leads to the Sharks but Jason Pominville scored his first goal in 17 games after redirecting a Craig Rivet shot past Nabokov with three seconds left in regulation.   The offense is starting to find its groove after the loss of Thomas Vanek.  The Sabres scored three powerplay goals, from Spacek, Roy, and Kotalik, which is a considerable improvement after going 1-12 against the Senators

The Hurricanes come into this game having lost at home against the Blue Jackets last night 5-1.  The Hurricanes have come into this game having lost their last two in stunning fashion, 5-0 and 5-1.  They also have had terrible games in Buffalo the last two seasons, having been outscored 27-8 since October 2006.  They are though, 7-2 this season in the second half of back to back games.

There are other games on today that have great importance to the Sabres.  The national game this afternoon showcases the Flyers and the Rangers, two teams who are just a few points ahead of the Sabres at this point.  The Sabres could use a Rangers loss to be able to keep pace with them and try and move up the conference standings.  The Canadians also play tonight in Vancouver so those with Center Ice can check out that game starting at 10.