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NHL: 3 things to know for Friday

01/30/2015 01:12 EST | Updated 04/01/2015 05:59 EDT
Though they're still in playoff contention, the Pittsburgh Penguins have been struggling lately, the Anaheim Ducks look to shake off a poor outing and Ryan Miller faces the Sabres for the first time as a Canuck.

Here are three things to know for Friday in the NHL:

Miller faces Sabres for 1st time

Once the franchise player for the Buffalo Sabres, Ryan Miller will face his former team for the first time as a mainstay for the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena.

Miller, who won a Vezina Trophy with the Sabres in 2010 and holds the franchise records for most wins in a season (41) and a career (284) was in goal when the Canucks (26-17-2) lost 4-0 Tuesday in Anaheim, the team's second straight defeat.

But he's been great most of the season for the Canucks, with a 2.33 goals-against average and 23-11-1 record.

Speaking of records, the Sabres (14-32-3) are losers of 13 consecutive games, all in regulation, and will reach the longest such slide in the NHL in 22 years if they lose in Vancouver. Back in 1993, the San Jose Sharks dropped 17 consecutive games to establish the mark for futility.

Buffalo dropped a 3-2 decision Thursday in Edmonton in a battle of NHL have-nots. Edmonton's victory gave them 35 points in 49 games this season. The Sabres are the only team with a worse output: 31 points from their 49 games.

Penguins try to shake road funk 

Although they're still in a formidable position in the Metropolitan Division, the Pittsburgh Penguins (27-13-8) have been struggling of late, especially on the road, where they play Friday against the New Jersey Devils (18-22-8).

Averaging about half a goal per game less on offence than what they're giving up over their last 16 contests, the Penguins were pretty brutal Wednesday, losing 4-0 in Washington. That setback was their 11th loss in 16 starts and they've taken only one win on the road in nine games.

Marc-Andre Fleury couldn't stop the Capitals Tuesday but has had better success against the Devils this season, winning twice in Pittsburgh. However, he was in goal Dec. 29 in New Jersey when the Devils topped the Pens 3-1 and has more losses against New Jersey (27) than any other team.

New Jersey's Cory Schneider has been in net for all three of the teams' prior meetings this season as he attempts to even the season series. The Devils have won 11 of their last 13 vs. the Penguins in New Jersey.

They're also on a two-game win streak, the latest a 2-1 Wednesday shootout victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Jacob Josefson scored the first of the two shootout goals to key the victory.

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Ducks need to regroup against Blackhawks

​Anaheim (32-11-6) was paddling along nicely on a six-game winning streak when they ran into the Sharks in San Jose waters and surrendered five goals in the second period en route to a 6-3 loss Thursday. The blame was not placed on goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov, making his fourth start for the Ducks and pulled during the mid-game barrage, but was chalked up as a team effort. All the Ducks were wobbly.

The Ducks welcome the Chicago Blackhawks (30-16-2) to the Honda Centre and the visitors haven't exactly been soaring with a 5-6-0 record in January. The Blackhawks lost Wednesday in Los Angeles, 4-3, as they continued a recent pattern of losing a lead to come from ahead to a defeat. Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp each had two points against the Kings, but it was the third time in four losses that Chicago relinquished a lead.

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