SABRES (15-30-8) at AVALANCHE (34-14-5)
TV: MSG-B, BELL TV, ALT
Last 10: Buffalo 3-4-3; Colorado 7-2-1
Season series: This is the second game between the Buffalo Sabres and Colorado Avalanche. Colorado won 4-2 on Oct. 19, getting goals from four different players.
Big story: The Sabres look to win consecutive games for only the third time this season, and the first since Dec. 17 and 19. Buffalo has also picked up points in three of its past four road games. The Avalanche hope to keep rolling after a 10-3-1 mark in January.
Sabres: Ryan Miller made 38 saves and the Sabres beat the Phoenix Coyotes 3-2 Thursday night despite allowing two goals in an 18-second span late in the first period. Two of the Sabres' 15 wins this season have come against the Coyotes.
The Sabres were able to hold on to an early third-period lead, which has been a problem for them this season.
"Sometimes when we have a lead, we panic a little bit. Tonight, we still panicked a bit, but not as much. I think the more experience we have going through games like this … experience is a great teacher,” coach Ted Nolan said after the game. "They didn’t panic as much and we held on and obviously Miller made some big, big saves."
Avalanche: Colorado earned a 5-4 win against the Minnesota Wild on Thursday to improve to 4-0-1 against the Wild this season. Semyon Varlamov had 35 saves hours after signing a five-year contract extension.
"We have picked up nine points out of a possible 10 [against Minnesota], which is something great," coach Patrick Roy said after the game. "We had to play well against these guys and that's what we've done all year."
Despite the Sabres having the fewest points in the NHL, Roy said Colorado wouldn't take anything for granted when they meet Saturday afternoon at Pepsi Center.
"It's important for us to be ready against Buffalo. They just beat Phoenix, 3-2. There's no easy win now in the NHL," he said.
Who's hot: Miller has stopped 67 of 71 shots during the Sabres' past two games. Forward Cody Hodgson has four goals in five games. … Avalanche forward Matt Duchene has five assists in his past four games.
Injury report: Buffalo is missing forwards Cody McCormick (upper body) and Drew Stafford (upper body). Forward Matt Moulson (wrist) left the game Thursday in the third period and did not return. … Colorado is without defenseman Cory Sarich (back), and Paul Stastny (ankle) and Alex Tanguay (knee) were considered day-to-day.
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