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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Wednesday, February 5th (All times Eastern)

Pittsburgh Penguins (39-15-2) at Buffalo Sabres (15-32-8), 7:30 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - With just two games to go before the Olympic break, the Pittsburgh Penguins look to become just the second team to reach 40 victories on Wednesday night as they visit the Buffalo Sabres.

Pittsburgh is leading the Eastern Conference with 80 points, five more than the Atlantic Division-leading Boston Bruins. That total also is just five back of the 40-13-5 Anaheim Ducks for the best record in the NHL.

The Penguins, owners of a 15-point edge over the New York Rangers for first place in the Metropolitan Division, have won three of four and 10 of their last 14 games. That includes a 2-1 victory over the visiting Ottawa Senators on Monday.

James Neal scored for the first time in nine games, putting home the rebound of a Robert Bortuzzo shot 1:55 into overtime for his 18th tally of the campaign.

Pittsburgh outshot Ottawa 48-25 and got 24 saves from Marc-Andre Fleury.

"We stuck with the game plan and kept getting pucks to the net. (Neal) made a great play in overtime for the win," said Pens forward Brian Gibbons, who notched power-play goal in the first period.

Penguins defenseman Kris Letang missed his third straight game with an undisclosed illness and did not travel to Buffalo, while forward Taylor Pyatt is expected to miss the next two games with a lower-body injury suffered against Ottawa.

Pittsburgh will host the New York Rangers on Friday in its final game before the Olympic break.

Buffalo plays the first of two games on back-to-back nights before it breaks for the Olympics. The Sabres will visit the Senators following this contest.

The Sabres hope to have halted a seven-game slide at home before heading to Ottawa, a skid that was extended with Monday's 3-2 setback to the Edmonton Oilers.

Jhonas Enroth made 25 saves, but allowed Matt Hendricks' short-handed goal in the third period that proved to be the difference despite the Sabres notching a season-high 44 shots in the game.

Steve Ott scored on the power play and Drew Stafford notched a short-handed tally with 56 seconds left in the first period to put Buffalo ahead 2-1, but the Sabres lost for the ninth time in 11 games overall.

Stafford scored in his return after missing the previous four games with an upper-body injury, wristing a shot top shelf for his fourth goal and sixth point in his past five games played.

"I thought Drew, the way he shot that puck, that's what we want to see," said Buffalo interim coach Ted Nolan said. "He's a big power forward and he's starting to get his confidence back."

The Sabres, last in the NHL with 38 points, lost defenseman Tyler Myers to a lower-body injury and he is day-to-day, though he has not been ruled out for tonight.

Wednesday marks the third and final meeting of the season between these clubs and lone clash in Buffalo. The Penguins have outscored the Sabres by a 7-1 margin in taking the first two tests at home, including a 3-0 shutout victory on Jan. 27.

Fleury stopped 24 shots for his fourth shutout of the season, while Sabres No. 1 netminder Ryan Miller made 31 saves.

Fleury is 14-5-2 with a 2.46 goals against average and two shutouts in his career versus the Sabres, while Miller has gone 7-12-3 with a 3.21 GAA when facing the Pens.

Pittsburgh has won 11 of the past 15 meetings overall and four of the last five in Buffalo.

02/05 10:39:20 ET

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Final
UVA 27
UNC 28
Final
NCCU 42
SAVST 14
 
1:00pm Today
CAR
SEA
Final
SFG 11
KAN 4
8:07pm Tonight
SFG
KAN
 
Final
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MD 7
Final
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Final
ILL 28
MINN 24
Final
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Final
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RUTG 24
Final
KST 23
TEX 0
Final
ARK 45
UAB 17
Final
UVA 27
UNC 28
Final
EMICH 17
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Final
NAVY 41
SJST 31
Final
BST 35
AKR 21
Final
GASTATE 31
GASO 69
Final
TOL 42
UMASS 35
Final
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Final
COL 37
UCLA 40
Final
UMO 10
KSU 3
Final
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BC 23
Final
BUF 14
CMICH 20
Final
MARS 35
FATL 16
Final
PITT 28
GT 56
Final
SMISS 20
LATU 31
Final
MSU 35
MICH 11
Final
KENT 31
MSST 45
Final
STAN 38
ORST 14
Final
TCU 82
TTU 27
Final
OKST 10
WVU 34
Final
WKENT 66
ODU 51
Final
UTST 34
UNLV 20
Final
MIZZ 24
VANDY 14
Final
UCF 34
TEMPL 14
Final
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ARZ 59
Final
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Final
TXSANANTO 0
UTEP 34
Final
COLST 45
WYO 31
Final
LSU 10
MISS 7
Final
TENN 20
ALA 34
Final
AUB 42
SCAR 35
Final
PSU 24
OSU 31
Final
UTAH 24
USC 21
Final
WASH 10
ARST 24
 
3rd
HAW 10
NEV 6
 
Final
SJS 1
BUF 2
Final
TOR 1
BOS 4
Final
NYI 7
DAL 5
Final
PHI 4
DET 2
Final
OTT 2
NJD 3
Final
MON 3
NYR 1
Final
STL 3
CHI 2
Final
NAS 0
PIT 3
Final
MIN 7
TAM 2
Final
ARI 2
FLA 1
Final
CAL 1
WAS 3
3:00pm Today
WIN
COL
 
4:00pm Today
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CLB
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHI
OTT
 
8:00pm Tonight
ANA
SJS
 
9:30pm Tonight
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WAS
 
9:30am Today
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1:00pm Today
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1:00pm Today
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1:00pm Today
NEP
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JAC
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TAM
MIN
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CAR
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KAN
STL
4:05pm Today
ARI
PHI
4:25pm Today
PIT
IND
4:25pm Today
CLE
OAK
8:30pm Tonight
NOS
GBP
Final
NCCU 42
SAVST 14