Punchless Sabres visit Blackhawks

(SportsNetwork.com) - The offensively-challenged Buffalo Sabres will try again to pick up their first win of the season on Saturday, but they'll have to do so in Chicago against the defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks.

The Sabres are 0-4-1 on the young season and are last in the NHL with just five goals through five games. Buffalo scored a season-high two goals in a 3-2 overtime loss to visiting Tampa Bay on Tuesday before losing Thursday's home test against Columbus by a 4-1 score.

Thomas Vanek, who has two of the Sabres' five goals this season, tallied the lone Buffalo marker on Thursday, while Ryan Miller, who missed Tuesday's tilt with a groin injury, allowed all four goals on 33 shots for the winless the Sabres.

"We have guys in this room who can make plays," Miller said. "We have to get past this hump."

Buffalo hasn't gone this far into a season without a win since opening the 1999-2000 season with five losses and two ties.

The Sabres will try to earn their first win of the season tonight, but the club's recent history against the Blackhawks says they'll have a tough time pulling it off. Chicago has won three straight and four of five against Buffalo and the Sabres have also dropped three in a row in the Windy City.

While Buffalo is aiming for its first win of the season, the Blackhawks will try to earn consecutive victories for the first time in 2013-14. Chicago began the campaign with a win over Washington before losing back-to-back tilts against Tampa Bay and St. Louis. However, the defending champs found themselves back in the win column after Friday's 3-2 decision against the visiting New York Islanders.

Duncan Keith notched a pair of assists and Nikolai Khabibulin made a triumphant return to Chicago in the Blackhawks' regulation win over the Islanders.

Michal Handzus netted the game-winning goal in the second period, while Khabibulin stopped all 12 shots he faced over the final two frames in his first start as a Blackhawk since the 2009 Western Conference finals. The veteran netminder, who previously spent four seasons with Chicago from 2005-09, re-signed with the team during the offseason.

Khabibulin finished with 17 saves overall for the Blackhawks, who also received goals from Jonathan Toews and rookie Joakim Nordstrom.

"He had a heck of a game," Chicago head coach Joel Quenneville said of Nordstrom. "Did a lot of good things."

Corey Crawford, the Blackhawks No. 1 goaltender, expects to be back between the pipes for Chicago on Friday.