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Reeling Sharks look to end skid against Sabres

San Jose (37-7-8) at Buffalo (28-21-6), 7:30 p.m. EST

BUFFALO, New York (Ticker) -- The San Jose Sharks are in

uncharted territory - mired in an extensive slump.

Evgeni Nabokov will likely be in goal as the Western

Conference-leading Sharks, who have lost four of five, visit the

Buffalo Sabres on Friday.

Nabokov had started 10 games in a row - including Tuesday's 5-2

setback to the Boston Bruins. He sat in favor of Brian Boucher

the next night, when San Jose fizzled in a 2-1 shootout loss to

the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The 33-year-old Nabokov is 28-6-6 with a 2.41 goals-against

average in 40 contests this season and will need to be on top of

his game if he intends on keeping the Sharks from falling to

1-3-0 on their current five-game trek.

Despite its struggles, San Jose has earned at least a point in

each of the first three games of its swing.

Buffalo, which is coming off back-to-back losses to the lowly

Ottawa Senators, is 13-11-4 on the road.

The Sabres continue to adjust to life without All-Star Thomas

Vanek, who missed his first game in Wednesday's 3-1 loss with a

fractured jaw that will keep him out at least three weeks.

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