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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, January 4th (All times Eastern)

New Jersey Devils (17-17-8) at Buffalo Sabres (11-26-4), 7 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The New Jersey Devils will try to bounce back from a home loss when they visit the lowly Buffalo Sabres for Saturday's Eastern Conference clash at First Niagara Center.

New Jersey had won two straight to end December, but began the new year with Friday's 5-3 loss against the visiting Chicago Blackhawks. Patrick Sharp posted his fourth career hat trick to lead the defending Stanley Cup champions to victory.

The score was tied at 1-1 after 40 minutes before Chicago jumped out to a 4-1 lead with three goals in the first 5 1/2 minutes of the third period. The Devils were able to cut the deficit to 4-3 but Sharp scored his third goal of the game with 1:28 left to account for the final margin.

Marek Zidlicky lit the lamp twice in the third in the loss, while Andy Greene registered the other goal for New Jersey. Martin Brodeur allowed all five goals on 24 shots in the setback.

"(Chicago's) a good team," New Jersey head coach Peter DeBoer admitted. "I thought we played a real good game for long stretches tonight to give ourselves a chance."

Cory Schneider expects to get the start in net for the Devils tonight. He is 1-1-1 with a 1.64 goals against average in three career games against Buffalo.

The Sabres, who are last in the NHL with 26 points, have lost two straight in regulation, but both of those setbacks came on the road. Buffalo enters Saturday's tilt in Western New York on a four-game home winning streak and the club has gone six straight tilts without a loss (5-0-1) at First Niagara Center.

Buffalo, which is 8-12-2 as the host this season compared to a 3-14-2 road record, is kicking off a three-game homestand on Saturday. The Sabres also will welcome Carolina and Florida during the residency.

After getting blanked 3-0 in Winnipeg on Tuesday, the Sabres dropped a 4-1 decision Thursday at Minnesota. Marco Scandella and Jason Pominville potted goals 1:46 apart during a three-goal second period for the Wild, who snapped their longest losing streak of the season at six games.

Matt Ellis spoiled Backstrom's shutout bid with a late marker and Ryan Miller allowed three goals on 31 shots for the Sabres, who have lost four of their last six games.

"They know how bad they played," Sabres interim head coach Ted Nolan said. "I'm very disappointed. We have to play a lot better."

Buffalo could be without forwards Ville Leino and Drew Stafford tonight. Leino sat out the last game with a lower-body issue and is doubtful for Saturday. Stafford suffered an upper-body injury on Thursday and is questionable.

Devils forward Patrik Elias sat out Friday's game with a lower-body injury and expects to miss this evening's tilt as well.

The Devils recorded a 1-0 home overtime win when it met Buffalo back on Nov. 20. New Jersey has taken two of three and five of the last eight meetings in this series, but the Sabres have claimed the last two encounters in Western New York.

01/04 10:30:46 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
NCCU 108
BASC 52
 
Final
CHA 106
PHO 111
Final
NCSU 83
TENN 72
Final
CLE 98
ATL 127
Final
CHA 106
PHO 111
4th
DET 100
DAL 105
 
4th
BOS 107
ORL 92
 
4th
MIA 69
UTA 79
 
3rd
TOR 70
BRK 66
 
Half
SAN 45
MEM 52
 
10:00pm Tonight
POR
MIL
10:30pm Tonight
DEN
HOU
10:30pm Tonight
LAC
IND
Final
UNT 78
LANG 65
 
Final
Terriers 64
DELST 72
 
Final
MSST 55
ARKST 69
 
Final
NCCU 108
BASC 52
 
Final
GMAS 99
CATAWBA 69
 
Final
WOFF 64
CSOU 58
 
Final
HIGH 106
FERR 48
 
Final
JVU 68
GWEBB 65
 
Final
ILL 73
HAMP 55
 
Final
BST 52
JMU 72
 
Final
YOUNG 84
KNST 90
 
Final
UMO 71
LONG 60
 
Final
PITT 65
MAN 56
Final
OSU 97
NCAT 55
Final
FSU 93
UNF 77
 
Final
TOL 83
RMU 57
 
Final
CAMP 70
SIUE 65
 
Final
DUQ 52
RFLSH 67
 
Final
NCSU 83
TENN 72
Final
UCF 75
DET 70
 
1st OT
UNCW 65
LIB 62
 
2nd
LOYC 65
ABCHRIST 39
 
2nd
MURST 79
ALCOR 46
 
Half
HOU 16
ARKPB 27
 
2nd
NW 57
CMICH 73
 
2nd
WKENT 64
CHIST 52
 
2nd
ODU 42
UGST 50
 
2nd
SMU 54
ILLCH 41
 
2nd
LALAF 104
MLGN 74
 
2nd
TULSA 68
MIZST 65
 
2nd
UWGB 59
MORE 42
 
2nd
NEOM 77
NCOL 62
 
2nd
TTU 73
SCST 30
 
2nd
DEN 58
TAMCC 47
 
Half
STEPH 27
TXST 30
 
2nd
STLU 54
TXPA 51
 
Half
MEM 42
USCU 29
 
2nd
ILLST 50
TENNM 52
 
1st
MSU 25
EMICH 16
 
1st
GRCN 44
INCWORD 34
 
1st
STAN 21
LMU 31
 
1st
BAY 24
NMST 20
 
1st
CIN 18
SDST 20
 
1st
AUB 28
WINT 18
 
10:00pm Tonight
NMU
CARK
 
10:00pm Tonight
PEPP
HOW
 
10:00pm Tonight
CPSL
NE
 
10:30pm Tonight
UNLV
PORT
11:00pm Tonight
OREG
CSNO
11:00pm Tonight
WASH
GRAM
Final
NJD 0
OTT 2
2nd Intermission
MIN 1
BOS 2
 
10:00pm Tonight
VAN
DAL