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Free Fall - Canes at Sabres Preview

The Carolina Hurricanes have been falling in the standings lately faster than the balance in your retirement account and fans are wondering when they will hit rock bottom. After climbing into 7th position in the Eastern Conference just a week or so ago, they have since lost four games in a row and currently stand in 10th place, most recently dropping behind Florida who is tied with 47 points but has two games in hand.

Things don't get easier for the Canes who now have a tough, although brief road trip ahead of them. The first of their three games in four nights is in Buffalo tonight.

The Sabres are coming off a tough overtime win in Dallas, but have had an inconsistent season much like the Canes. Right now they have 49 points and have taken over the "coveted" 7th spot in the East. Cory recently wrote an article about their current plight as well as the similarities and differences between the two franchises. If you missed it you can see it here.

Coach Paul Maurice was very unhappy with the work ethic during parts of the last game against Toronto, so he put the team through a rougher than normal practice yesterday. Will it have any affect? Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff took notice and is weary of facing a possible desperate team tonight.

The game will be the 300th consecutive regular season game for Eric Staal. The durable young center's streak is currently third best in the league.

Cam Ward will be the likely netminder again for the Canes. He has started the past 10 games. (5-5).

Since the coaching change, the Canes are hitting on the powerplay at a 20% success rate, (18-90). Prior to the change, their precentage was 12.9%, (15-116).

The Sabres have the third best kill in the league, stopping 86.4% of the advantages they face.

There is no official word about Tim Gleason, (who left the game early Thursday night), so it looks like he will play. There are no injuries listed for the Canes on their current roster, although the AP has the game preview up on the team's homepage and they usually do not have the latest and greatest.

Will the Canes mix up the lines again? Will they come out with passion? Or will they lay another stinker and fall deeper in the race? Could things get any worse?

Game time is at 7 tonight and the affair will be broadcast locally by FS Carolinas.