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Blackhawks Vs. Sabres: Niklas Hjalmarsson's Return

(Sports Network) - The Buffalo Sabres will try to put an awful homestand behind them tonight when they visit the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks at United Center.

The Sabres began the season with a road win in Ottawa, but then went 0-3-1 during a four-game homestand that ended Friday with a regulation loss to Montreal. Buffalo will now close the month of October by playing six of its seven games away from HSBC Arena.

Josh Gorges scored what proved to be the game-winning goal late in the second period to lead the Canadiens to the 2-1 victory in what was the 40th anniversary of Buffalo's first home game as a franchise.

Derek Roy tallied his fifth goal of the season for the Sabres. Ryan Miller -- last year's Vezina Trophy winner -- suffered his fourth straight defeat after allowing both goals on 28 shots.

"I think we've had very erratic play," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. "When you're chasing the puck all night, it makes it tough."

The Sabres have recorded just nine goals in five games this year and Roy is the only Buffalo forward with more than one tally. Sabres winger Thomas Vanek, a two-time 40-goal scorer, has been especially disappointing with just one assist and a minus-three rating in five games.

Meanwhile, the Blackhawks have won two of their last three games after beginning 2010-11 with consecutive losses. Chicago was also in action on Friday and recorded a decisive victory to spoil the Blue Jackets' home opener in Columbus.

Patrick Sharp scored twice and Marty Turco made 30 saves, leading the Blackhawks took a 5-2 win at Nationwide Arena. Marian Hossa and Tomas Kopecky each had a goal and assist for the Blackhawks.

"The guys played a great game tonight, I think the score was indicative how we played," Turco said. "It was a great road win."

It will be interesting to see how Buffalo greets Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson tonight. The Swedish blueliner is eligible to return this evening from a two-game suspension for a blind-side hit he delivered on Sabres forward Jason Pominville when the clubs met Monday in Buffalo. Pominville suffered a concussion and a gash above his eye and is sidelined indefinitely.

Buffalo dropped a 4-3 decision earlier this week against the Blackhawks, but the Sabres are still 4-2-0 with a tie in the last seven matchups overall. The Sabres have also won four times in their previous six trips to the Windy City.