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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Thursday, March 13th (All times Eastern)

Buffalo Sabres (19-38-8) at Carolina Hurricanes (28-28-9), 7 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - With time winding down to make a run at a playoff spot, the Carolina Hurricanes aim to win back-to-back games for the first time since late January as they host the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night.

The Hurricanes have not posted a winning streak since claiming four straight victories from Jan. 22-27. They have won just four times in 13 games since, including Tuesday's 3-1 decision over the New York Rangers.

Carolina went into the game having lost seven of its previous eight games, but got a goal and an assist from both Jordan Staal and Jiri Tlusty as well as 24 stops by Cam Ward. Rookie Elias Lindholm also scored.

Ward picked up his first victory since Dec. 31 and won for only the seventh time this season during an injury-marred campaign. Still, head coach Kirk Muller said on Tuesday that Ward is a key part to his team's success.

"The big word on sports teams is chemistry. For us to move forward here from now to the end, your best players have to come up big. He's one of the leaders of this team," said Muller about Ward. "I think he wanted it. He's looked more comfortable in the last three or four days."

Given those words, it is unknown if Ward or Anton Khudobin, who is 14-9-0 with a 2.31 goals against average this season, will start tonight.

Ward is 9-7-3 with a 2.85 GAA and two shutouts in 19 career games versus the Sabres, while Khudobin is 3-1-1 with a 1.98 GAA and one shutout against them.

Carolina's offense has netted at least three goals in four of the past five games. Staal has two goals and five points in his last three games, while fellow forward Alexander Semin has an assist in four straight and six points in his last five contests.

With 65 points, the Hurricanes are eight back of the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, while the Sabres are last in the NHL standings with just 46 points.

Buffalo has been outscored 8-2 over a three-game slide and has lost four of its past five overall. The Sabres were last in action on Tuesday, when they were bested by the visiting Nashville Predators 4-1.

Drew Stafford, skating in his 500th NHL game, scored on the power play just 2:09 into the game, but Buffalo's offense went silent from there despite Stafford's eighth goal and 14th point in his last 15 games.

Jhonas Enroth allowed three goals on 23 shots in the setback.

"We're not going to have anyone come in here and save us from this. We've got to pick ourselves up. We have what we have and we've got to work through it and we've got to get better," said Sabres interim coach Ted Nolan.

Enroth is 2-2-0 with a 2.49 GAA and one shutout in four previous games versus the Hurricanes, while the recently acquired Michal Neuvirth is 4-1-1 with a 2.57 GAA and one shutout against them.

The Sabres and Hurricanes are meeting for the third and final time this season having previously split a pair of encounters in Buffalo. That includes a 3-2 victory by the Sabres on Feb. 25 in Ryan Miller's final outing with the club before getting dealt to the St. Louis Blues.

The Hurricanes are 8-2-2 in the last 12 meetings overall and 8-3-1 in the previous 12 at home.

Semin has three goals in the two earlier meetings, while Stafford has three assists.

The Sabres have not won in Carolina since Nov. 18, 2011 and are trying to avoid their first four-game road slide in this series since dropping six in a row in Hartford from April 8, 1995-April 7, 1997.

03/13 10:47:16 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Half
UVA 24
UNC 21
 
1st
NCCU 0
SAVST 0
 
8:07pm Tonight
SFG
KAN
3rd
WISC 31
MD 0
 
3rd
SMU 7
MEM 41
 
3rd
ILL 21
MINN 17
 
3rd
RICE 24
UNT 21
 
3rd
NEB 35
RUTG 10
 
3rd
KST 16
TEX 0
 
3rd
ARK 38
UAB 3
 
Half
UVA 24
UNC 21
 
2nd
EMICH 7
NILL 14
 
2nd
NAVY 21
SJST 10
 
1st
BST 3
AKR 7
 
1st
GASTATE 3
GASO 0
 
1st
TOL 0
UMASS 6
 
1st
WMICH 0
OHIO 0
 
1st
COL 0
UCLA 7
 
2:30pm Today
UMO
KSU
3:30pm Today
WAKE
BC
3:30pm Today
BUF
CMICH
3:30pm Today
MARS
FATL
3:30pm Today
PITT
GT
3:30pm Today
SMISS
LATU
3:30pm Today
MSU
MICH
3:30pm Today
KENT
MSST
3:30pm Today
STAN
ORST
3:30pm Today
TCU
TTU
3:30pm Today
OKST
WVU
4:00pm Today
WKENT
ODU
4:00pm Today
UTST
UNLV
4:00pm Today
MIZZ
VANDY
5:00pm Tonight
UCF
TEMPL
6:00pm Tonight
WASU
ARZ
7:00pm Tonight
CLEM
SYR
7:00pm Tonight
LAMON
TXST
7:00pm Tonight
TXSANANTO
UTEP
7:00pm Tonight
COLST
WYO
7:15pm Tonight
LSU
MISS
7:30pm Tonight
TENN
ALA
7:30pm Tonight
AUB
SCAR
8:00pm Tonight
PSU
OSU
10:00pm Tonight
UTAH
USC
10:45pm Tonight
WASH
ARST
11:59pm Tonight
HAW
NEV
4:00pm Today
SJS
BUF
7:00pm Tonight
TOR
BOS
7:00pm Tonight
NYI
DAL
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
DET
7:00pm Tonight
OTT
NJD
7:00pm Tonight
MON
NYR
8:00pm Tonight
STL
CHI
8:00pm Tonight
NAS
PIT
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
TAM
9:00pm Tonight
ARI
FLA
10:00pm Tonight
CAL
WAS
1st
NCCU 0
SAVST 0