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Though the Buffalo Sabres and the Anaheim Ducks posted different records last month, each team concluded it the same way - with a victory.
Both clubs look to carry that success in their first game of February Monday night, with the Sabres aiming for their sixth win in eight games overall and the Ducks trying to make it two in a row.
Buffalo (26-19-5) entered the new year two points out of the final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference. However, it is currently seventh after winning nine of 13 games in January, and posted a 2-0 win at Phoenix on Saturday night. Only New Jersey had more victories (11) in the month.
Meanwhile, Anaheim (25-22-5) is fifth in the West, but wasn't quite as successful in January. The Ducks were 6-7-1 but capped the month with a 4-3 victory at Colorado on Saturday.
The Sabres, who played 10 of their 13 games on the road in January, are 3-2-0 entering the final game of a season-high six-game swing.
"It's something we identified on the schedule as being very important to our season," Ryan Miller, who made 28 saves in his fourth shutout of 2008-09, said of the Sabres' recent road stretch. "It was going to be make or break and we had to survive it."
Miller made sure of that, going 9-3-0 with a 2.30 goals-against average and a .932 save percentage in starting the Sabres' last 12 games. His 11th career shutout followed a span in which he yielded 12 goals in three games.
Anaheim, meanwhile, relied on offense to secure its latest victory, as winger Teemu Selanne ended a seven-game goal-scoring drought by notching the decisive tally on Saturday.
It was Selanne's 15th goal, coming in his second game back after missing the previous six weeks with a lacerated left thigh. The 38-year-old veteran also became the Ducks' career leader in games played with 617, surpassing Steve Rucchin.
"I think it's very important," said Ducks goaltender Jonas Hiller, who made 34 saves, about Selanne's achievement. "First, he's a great player and second, in the dressing room, he's a great guy and the young kids can learn from him. He knows how to score. He showed it again there in the third and it was the game-winner."
Selanne has had some offensive success against the Sabres with six goals and 23 points in 21 career games, but hasn't faced them since Dec. 8, 2005.
Anaheim ended a six-game home losing streak and six-game skid overall to Buffalo with a 4-1 victory Dec. 5, 2007.
Jean-Sebastien Giguere made 22 saves in that matchup, and is 1-1-1 with a 2.91 GAA in four appearances against the Sabres.
It's unclear who Ducks coach Randy Carlyle will start in net. Hiller has been in net the last three games, as Giguere is just 1-5-2 with a 3.68 GAA in his previous nine starts.
Either player will have to stop Buffalo's Tim Connolly, who has four goals and two assists during a three-game point streak and seven goals and two assists in his last six contests.
Anaheim's hottest scorer is Bobby Ryan, who has five goals and three assists in a seven-game point streak. Despite having a five-game goal-scoring run end Saturday, he leads all rookies with 17 goals and is fourth with 34 points.
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