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Weekend Double-Dip
Sabres look to end skid against Thrashers

BUFFALO (LGS) — Buffalo Sabres fans have suffered plenty this season. The team has gone on rollercoaster rides all season, starting with opening weekend losses to the Islanders.

They failed to score the first goal in a game for 13 consecutive contests.

They turned it around and won six straight.

And now they’ve lost – or gone winless depending on whom you ask – enough games to fill up two full hands.

The streak hit double digits with Wednesday’s 2-1 loss in New York. Now they’ll try again to right the ship as they play two games this weekend, beginning Friday against Atlanta in a 7:30 p.m. faceoff in HSBC Arena.

It is the team’s final home game in the month of January. Following the game, the team will play seven straight on the road beginning Saturday in Toronto, a 7 p.m. start.

The news is getting better concerning Buffalo’s depleted squad as Derek Roy will return to the lineup for the Atlanta game. The team’s second-leading scorer, tied with defenseman Brian Campbell with 30 points, will be a game time decision.

Injured Jan. 6 in an afternoon game against the Thrashers, Roy has missed the team’s last four losses.

"We got him a pretty good practice yesterday," said head coach Lindy Ruff after Friday’s practice which Roy participated in. "He's been skating for five days pretty hard. I anticipate him being a positive influence. We'll see [about ice time]. We're going to judge it by how it goes and how he feels. We'll start off maybe a little bit limited then we'll see where he's at."

Jaroslav Spacek, Buffalo’s January captain, remains sidelined due to back spasms, as does Tim Connolly and Maxim Afinogenov who both have groin injuries.

Clarke MacArthur skated this morning and feels good enough to play.

The forward was streaking to the net and looking for a rebound when he was cross-checked from behind by Brendan Shanahan. MacArthur banged his face right in to the post and remained down on the ice for several minutes.

Atlanta will be facing a situation similar to the one Buffalo will face Saturday, having played a game the night before. The Thrashers lost Thursday night in a shootout to Montreal.

Marian Hossa and Pascal Dupuis scored for the Thrashers before Andrei Kostitsyn scored the decisive shootout goal for the Canadiens.

Fun Fact of the Game
Buffalo defeated Atlanta 6-0 the last time the Thrashers visited Buffalo. Sure they have a different coach and have been playing much better than early October when they visited. But Buffalo can win this game, hopefully ending their worst “winless” streak in five years.

By Timothy Chipp, LGS Columnist
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