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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Tuesday, February 25th (All times Eastern)

Carolina Hurricanes (26-22-9) at Buffalo Sabres (15-34-8), 7 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - In the first game following the NHL's break for the Olympics, the Carolina Hurricanes hope to give their postseason chances a boost when they visit the lowly Buffalo Sabres for Tuesday's clash at First Niagara Center.

This contest was originally scheduled for Jan. 7 before wintry weather forced that meeting to be postponed until tonight. The clubs met once after that postponement when the Hurricanes notched a 5-3 win in Buffalo on Jan. 23. Alexander Semin had two goals in Carolina's triumph, while Anton Khudobin -- the NHL's First Star for January -- turned aside 26-of-29 shots.

Khudobin could hold the key to getting Carolina back to the postseason for the first time since the spring of 2009. The 27-year-old Russian is turning heads in his first season in Raleigh and has clearly outplayed longtime No. 1 backstop Cam Ward in 2013-14. Khudobin entered the Olympic break with a 19-13-6 record, 2.14 goals against average and a .927 save percentage. Ward, meanwhile, is 6-7-5 with a 3.15 GAA and .895 save percentage.

Carolina enters Tuesday three points out of a playoff berth in the Eastern Conference, and Khudobin could make a positive difference for the club down the stretch.

Although Khudobin helped the 'Canes win six of their last nine games before the break, the club did find itself on the losing end in three of its final five tests prior to the Olympics.

"It's a restart button for everybody," said Hurricanes head coach Kirk Muller of the time off. "It's a great opportunity for everyone to take a deep breath and use this break mentally and physically. Our goal is to make the playoffs, and we're going to need everybody."

Carolina was 2-2-0 on a four-game homestand that completed the team's pre- Olympics schedule and the club will emerge from the hiatus to begin a five- game road trip. The Hurricanes are just 11-10-4 as the visiting team this season.

With its win last month in Buffalo, the Hurricanes have won two straight and four of their past five games in western New York. Carolina has claimed four in a row and five of six in the series overall.

Buffalo entered the break last in the NHL with only 38 points, and all eyes will be on goaltender Ryan Miller over the next few weeks, as the rebuilding club mulls over whether or not to deal the star netminder before the league's trade deadline on March 5.

Miller is in the final year of his contract and could opt to leave Buffalo via free agency over the summer. The 33-year-old served as backup to Jonathan Quick for Team USA in February and he could make the difference for a playoff hopeful team down the stretch.

Buffalo ended its pre-Olympic schedule on a four-game losing streak and it will try to halt that 0-4-0 stretch tonight.

Like Miller, Sabres forward Steve Ott is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent over the summer, and, unless Buffalo is able to sign Ott to an extension, his days in Buffalo could be numbered as well.

"Obviously I told them I want to be here," Ott recently told his club's official web site. "We'll see where it all goes. I'm professional enough to know the business side of things as well and what the situation is here as well. We'll see how it all plays out in the next two weeks or so."

Buffalo is beginning a three-game homestand on Tuesday, but that is hardly a consolation for a club that has lost eight straight as the host. All told, the Sabres are 9-17-5 as the home team this season.

The Sabres also will be in action on Wednesday night when they host the Boston Bruins.

02/25 10:45:31 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
ECU 58
FRES 52
7:00pm Tonight
CIN
NCCU
 
7:00pm Tonight
WAS
ATL
7:30pm Tonight
MIA
GSW
8:00pm Tonight
MIL
DET
8:00pm Tonight
NOP
SAC
9:00pm Tonight
DEN
CHI
7:00pm Tonight
UMO
OHIO
Final
ECU 58
FRES 52
Final
ELON 74
MRGST 73
 
Final
MIZZ 61
PURD 82
Final
MAR 55
HAW 62
Final
UNF 77
LIB 57
 
2nd
CHAM 79
BYU 111
 
2nd
BUCK 53
MDES 55
 
Final
UGST 85
WCU 70
 
1st
UWGB 6
EVAN 12
 
7:00pm Tonight
ARST
ALA
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OHIO
ARKPB
 
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UNH
BU
 
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OU
CHIST
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TOL
DET
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CLMB
FD
 
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QUIN
HART
 
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SFLA
HOF
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HARV
HOU
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BONA
JST
 
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STJOE
LIU
 
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SYR
GHND
 
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MLOWELL
MTIDA
 
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CIN
NCCU
 
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VT
NIOWA
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WOFF
OHVALLEY
 
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TEMPL
PENN
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RUTG
PETE
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BGU
SEMIZ
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LAS
Terriers
 
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UVA
TENST
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KENT
TXARL
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FSU
CITA
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PBY
TOCC
 
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COOK
TENNM
 
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WMARY
WILL
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USB
WKENT
 
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HIGH
WMPEACE
 
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PSU
AKR
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SMU
ARK
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ARMY
BING
 
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CSOU
CARK
 
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UMBC
HOW
 
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ARZ
KYST
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VCU
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CIU
 
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CREI
EILL
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ALAAM
JVST
 
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ABCHRIST
JCHR
 
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TXSA
LOYC
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NDST
MNCROOK
 
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NEB
NEOM
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VANDY
NORST
 
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STLU
NCAT
 
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MTST
NARZ
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TTU
NWST
 
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TULA
SOUTH
 
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ILLCH
STXAVIER
 
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TEX
RFLSH
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BRAD
TAMCC
 
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SMISS
TROY
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DRAK
IUPUI
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ARKST
LAM
 
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FLGC
USF
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COL
AFA
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IDAHO
BSU
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GRCN
BUF
 
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ORU
LALAF
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CHAR
MIAMI
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ISU
MD
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UMO
NW
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SDST
PITT
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MICH
VILL
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SACST
BRISTOL
 
11:00pm Tonight
USC
CSFU
11:00pm Tonight
STAN
DEL
7:00pm Tonight
CLB
WIN
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NAS
LOS
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STL
OTT
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DAL
EDM
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ARI
COL
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ANA
CAL
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VAN
NJD