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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Sunday, March 23rd (All times Eastern)

Buffalo Sabres (20-42-8) at Vancouver Canucks (32-20-10), 8 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - With time running out in the regular season, the Vancouver Canucks will try to make up ground in the Western Conference playoff race on Sunday when they host the lowly Buffalo Sabres at Rogers Arena.

Sitting five points out of a playoff spot with only 10 games left on their schedule, the Canucks are in danger of missing the postseason in their first campaign under head coach John Tortorella.

Although Vancouver didn't make it out of the first round in each of the last two springs, the club hasn't missed the playoffs since 2008.

With 74 points, Vancouver is five behind Phoenix for the second wild card spot in the West. The Coyotes hold a game in hand over the Canucks, but with Phoenix idle on Sunday, Tortorella's club has a chance to cut the deficit to three points,

The Canucks expect to get at least one key forward back on Sunday, as Ryan Kesler and Daniel Sedin returned to practice on Friday and could help with Vancouver's postseason push. Sedin has missed the last nine games with an injured left hamstring, while Kesler has sat out the last four with a sprained right knee. Sedin expects to play tonight, while Kesler will be a game-time decision.

"Danny is in. Not sure on (Kessler). We will make a decision tomorrow," Tortorella said after practice Saturday.

Fellow forward Alexandre Burrows, however, expects to miss Sunday's tilt after injuring his left hand in Vancouver's recent win over the Nashville Predators.

Vancouver has won two of its last three games and is coming off Wednesday's 2-0 victory over visiting Nashville. Another win Sunday against the basement- dwelling Sabres would give the Canucks consecutive victories for the first time since beating Calgary and Edmonton from Jan. 18-21.

The Canucks used a strong performance from rookie goaltender Eddie Lack to down the Predators. Lack made 30 saves for his fourth shutout of the season, while Alexander Edler and Nicklas Jensen scored in the third period for Vancouver.

Jensen snapped a scoreless tie 6:06 into the third stanza. He scored from the top of the right circle after Henrik Sedin lost the puck in the slot.

"It's being confident and not panicking and just trying to put it on net," Jensen said of his shot, which went just under the crossbar. "The fact the coach gives me that opportunity is really good, but at the same time you have to show you want to be in those situations too."

Vancouver is 17-11-6 as the host this season and is wrapping a brief two-game homestand on Sunday.

Buffalo is last in the NHL with just 48 points this season, but the Sabres were able to snap a seven-game losing streak in their last trip to the ice, picking up a 3-1 win in Edmonton.

Cory Conacher had two goals on deflections and picked up an assist to back Buffalo neophyte Matt Hackett in Thursday's win over the Oilers. Hackett, the fifth goaltender to start for Buffalo this season, made 35 saves and helped the Sabres kill off 5-of-6 Edmonton power plays.

"I think we deserved that one," said Conacher. "We kept it pretty simple for the most part. We ran into a bit of penalty trouble, but our PK came up huge."

Hackett, who was recently called up from Rochester of the American Hockey League, made his debut with the club that acquired from Minnesota last April.

With Jhonas Enroth and Michal Neuvirth still out with lower-body injuries, 22- year-old rookie Nathan Lieuwen will make his second career start on Sunday. Hackett will serve as the backup.

Buffalo is 8-22-3 on the road this season and is playing the third test of a five-game swing on Sunday. The Sabres will continue the trek Tuesday in Montreal before completing the trip Thursday against Nashville.

The Sabres have won four of the last six meetings with Vancouver, but the Canucks recorded a 3-0 win in Buffalo on Oct. 17.

Sunday's game marks Buffalo's first road game against the Canucks since posting a 5-3 win on March 3, 2012. Before that victory two years ago, the Sabres had been winless in their previous six trips to B.C., going 0-5-0 with a tie.

03/23 11:00:47 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
UCF 66
ECU 71
 
Final
BC 79
NCSU 63
 
1st
MIAMI 4
UNC 7
 
4:00pm Today
NCCU
COOK
 
5:00pm Tonight
NYI
CAR
7:00pm Tonight
DUKE
SYR
7:00pm Tonight
WAS
DET
7:30pm Tonight
MIA
ATL
7:30pm Tonight
NYK
TOR
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
MEM
8:30pm Tonight
DAL
BRK
9:00pm Tonight
UTA
MIL
9:00pm Tonight
PHO
SAN
Final
LIP 94
KNST 75
 
Final
GHND 47
NAVY 57
 
Final
LAF 74
ARMY 64
 
Final
AMER 69
BUCK 71
 
Final
UCF 66
ECU 71
 
2nd
STJ 81
GEOR 70
 
1st OT
CLEM 60
GT 60
 
Final
COL 61
LEH 55
 
Final
FSU 59
LOU 81
 
Final
MD 66
MICH 56
Final
UGA 68
MIZZ 44
 
Final
BC 79
NCSU 63
 
2nd
LAS 52
RIU 53
 
2nd
UNH 51
MAINE 43
 
2nd
IUPUI 34
NEOM 39
 
2nd
WINT 43
PBY 32
 
Half
VMI 26
SAMF 38
 
2nd
CITA 25
WCU 34
 
1st
DEP 6
BUT 11
 
1st
LONG 2
CAMP 4
 
1st
TULA 4
CIN 13
 
1st
VCU 5
DAY 0
 
1st
TOWS 9
DEL 8
 
1st
WMARY 2
DREX 4
 
1st
JVU 9
FLGC 7
 
1st
EVAN 6
ILLST 4
 
1st
BRAD 4
INDST 8
 
1st
MIAMI 4
UNC 7
 
1st
WICHS 15
NIOWA 10
 
1st
UWGB 10
OU 15
 
1st
LSU 11
MISS 10
 
1st
OKLA 6
TCU 8
 
1st
BING 9
UMBC 1
 
1st
AFA 5
UTST 6
 
1st
GTDNS 10
VERM 12
 
1st
XAV 10
VILL 8
 
1st
MNTER 6
WAGN 1
 
1st
ILLCH 4
WRST 6
 
2:30pm Today
YALE
SARAHLAW
 
3:00pm Today
UAB
MTST
3:00pm Today
NDAK
SUTAH
 
3:00pm Today
LIB
UNCA
 
3:05pm Today
CHIST
WLVRN
 
3:30pm Today
UMO
BGU
 
3:30pm Today
SHU
LIU
 
3:30pm Today
APP
LAMON
 
4:00pm Today
VANDY
ALA
4:00pm Today
KENT
ARK
4:00pm Today
NCCU
COOK
 
4:00pm Today
MRGST
COPST
 
4:00pm Today
SHU
CREI
4:00pm Today
BONA
DUQ
4:00pm Today
MERC
ETST
 
4:00pm Today
UMASS
FORD
4:00pm Today
RAD
GWEBB
 
4:00pm Today
JMU
HOF
 
4:00pm Today
BU
HC
 
4:00pm Today
KYST
ISU
4:00pm Today
DELST
MDES
 
4:00pm Today
LOYC
MIZST
 
4:00pm Today
IDAHO
MNTST
 
4:00pm Today
MCNST
NICST
 
4:00pm Today
TTU
OKST
4:00pm Today
PORT
SDU
 
4:00pm Today
BRY
Terriers
 
4:00pm Today
RMU
RFLSH
 
4:00pm Today
UVA
VT
4:00pm Today
BAY
WVU
4:00pm Today
FUR
WOFF
 
4:05pm Today
SILL
DRAK
 
4:30pm Today
FD
CCST
 
4:30pm Today
WMICH
EMICH
 
4:30pm Today
CSOU
HIGH
 
5:00pm Tonight
UNCG
CHAT
 
5:00pm Tonight
SD
SDKST
 
5:00pm Tonight
CARK
SELA
 
5:00pm Tonight
KU
TEX
5:05pm Tonight
EWASH
MONT
 
5:15pm Tonight
TROY
UGST
 
5:30pm Tonight
TXST
ARKST
 
5:30pm Tonight
UNT
ODU
6:00pm Tonight
CORN
DART
 
6:00pm Tonight
NCAT
FAM
 
6:00pm Tonight
PSU
IOWA
6:00pm Tonight
MORE
JVST
 
6:00pm Tonight
PEPP
LMU
 
6:00pm Tonight
SCAR
MSST
6:00pm Tonight
BRO
PRIN
 
6:00pm Tonight
NEV
SJST
6:00pm Tonight
SCST
SAV
 
6:00pm Tonight
BEL
TENST
 
6:00pm Tonight
UF
TENN
6:00pm Tonight
ALAST
TXSOU
 
6:30pm Tonight
SOUTH
ALCOR
 
6:30pm Tonight
JST
MVSU
 
7:00pm Tonight
SEMIZ
PEAY
 
7:00pm Tonight
TOL
BST
 
7:00pm Tonight
KSU
BUF
 
7:00pm Tonight
LBSU
CSFU
 
7:00pm Tonight
MARS
FATL
7:00pm Tonight
STLU
GMAS
7:00pm Tonight
DAVID
GWU
7:00pm Tonight
HOW
HAMP
 
7:00pm Tonight
CLMB
HARV
 
7:00pm Tonight
LAM
INCWORD
 
7:00pm Tonight
YOUNG
UWMIL
 
7:00pm Tonight
TENNM
MURST
 
7:00pm Tonight
ELON
UNCW
 
7:00pm Tonight
ILL
NW
7:00pm Tonight
YALE
PENN
 
7:00pm Tonight
ALAAM
PVU
 
7:00pm Tonight
STJOE
RICH
7:00pm Tonight
UNF
STET
 
7:00pm Tonight
HART
USB
 
7:00pm Tonight
DUKE
SYR
7:00pm Tonight
EKENT
TENT
 
7:00pm Tonight
LATU
TXSA
7:00pm Tonight
NKENTUCKY
USCU
 
7:00pm Tonight
MAST
WILL
 
7:05pm Tonight
UMKC
GRCN
 
7:15pm Tonight
NO
ABCHRIST
 
8:00pm Tonight
SDST
BSU
8:00pm Tonight
NILL
CMICH
 
8:00pm Tonight
RICE
CHAR
8:00pm Tonight
ORU
DEN
 
8:00pm Tonight
WKENT
FIU
8:00pm Tonight
TXPA
NMST
 
8:00pm Tonight
COC
NE
 
8:00pm Tonight
TAMCC
SHSU
 
8:00pm Tonight
SCU
GAELS
 
8:00pm Tonight
HOUB
STEPH
 
8:00pm Tonight
SMISS
UTEP
8:00pm Tonight
MEM
TULSA
8:00pm Tonight
UNLV
WYO
8:15pm Tonight
TXARL
ARKLR
 
8:15pm Tonight
LALAF
GSOUT
 
8:30pm Tonight
TEXAM
AUB
8:30pm Tonight
ARKPB
GRAM
 
9:00pm Tonight
UTAH
ARZ
9:00pm Tonight
NCOL
NARZ
 
10:00pm Tonight
GONZ
BYU
10:00pm Tonight
WEBER
IDST
 
10:00pm Tonight
FRES
NMU
10:00pm Tonight
USF
PAC
 
10:00pm Tonight
CPSL
UCD
 
10:05pm Tonight
PORST
SACST
 
10:30pm Tonight
SEAT
CALST
 
10:30pm Tonight
CSNO
UCR
 
10:30pm Tonight
USC
WASH
11:59pm Tonight
UCSB
UCI
 
3:00pm Today
FLA
BUF
3:00pm Today
NAS
DET
5:00pm Tonight
NYI
CAR
5:00pm Tonight
CLB
NJD
5:30pm Tonight
BOS
ARI
7:00pm Tonight
MON
TOR
8:00pm Tonight
PHI
NYR
10:00pm Tonight
COL
MIN
10:00pm Tonight
SJS
OTT
10:00pm Tonight
EDM
STL