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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Thursday, January 23rd (All times Eastern)

Carolina Hurricanes (21-19-9) at Buffalo Sabres (13-28-7), 7 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Carolina Hurricanes will try for back-to-back wins on Thursday night when they visit the lowly Buffalo Sabres for a battle at First Niagara Center.

The Hurricanes played Wednesday in Philadelphia and recorded a 3-2 victory thanks to Jiri Tlusty's third-period goal. The contest was originally scheduled for Tuesday, but a winter storm caused the game to be postponed a day.

The postponed game in Philly also caused Carolina's next game to be pushed back so the Hurricanes wouldn't have to play on three consecutive days. The 'Canes were originally slated to host Ottawa on Friday, but that game will be played on Saturday instead.

Carolina led 2-0 on Wednesday before allowing the Flyers to even the score. However, Tlusty would produce the game-winner with 6:10 remaining in the third after putting the rebound of an Andrej Sekera shot from the point past Philadelphia netminder Steve Mason.

"The defense made a good shot through the traffic and it kind of bounced right in front of me. I was there by myself so I tried to put it up high and it went in," said Tlusty on his goal.

Alexander Semin scored in his third straight game and Nathan Gerbe also lit the lamp in the win. Gerbe's goal was of the highlight-reel variety, as he finished a breakaway by putting the puck between his legs and flipping a shot off Mason and into the net.

Anton Khudobin made 22 stops for the Hurricanes, who have won two of their last three and improved to 10-9-4 as the visiting team this season.

Carolina is also just three points behind Columbus for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Blue Jackets are hosting Philadelphia on Thursday.

The Sabres, who are last in the NHL with only 33 points, have lost their last four games. All four setbacks during the 0-2-2 slide have come by identical 4-3 margins, including Tuesday's regulation setback against visiting Florida.

Nick Bjugstad's second period tally proved to be the game-winner as the Panthers edged the Sabres at First Niagara Center.

Drew Stafford potted a pair of goals and also assisted on Steve Ott's third- period marker. Ryan Miller allowed all four goals on 22 shots.

"We need to really start to go back to the drawing board because there's not much else to say," said Stafford. "We need to clean a few things up and make sure we come out to a good start and if we do, bear down in our own end."

The Sabres have lost five of six and are just 8-13-6 over their past 27 trips to the ice.

Buffalo also has lost four straight on home ice and brings a 9-14-4 record as the host into the finale of a three-game stay in Western New York.

Although the Sabres and Hurricanes were supposed to meet on Jan. 7 in Buffalo that game was postponed due to a winter storm and rescheduled for Feb. 25. Carolina has claimed three straight and four of the last five meetings in this series overall and the 'Canes have won three of the past four encounters at First Niagara Center.

01/23 10:38:53 ET

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