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The Buffalo Sabres' list of unsigned free agents has been reduced by one.

Alexei Zhitnik has signed a one-year contract with the team. He will practice today and could be in the lineup for Thursday's game with the Washington Capitals. The deal is said to be in the neighborhood of $1.5 million in base salary.

"We worked it out late (Tuesday) night," Sabres general manager Darcy Regier said. "It was the contract that Alex felt most comfortable with."

Michael Peca now is the only unsigned Group II free agent on the Sabres' roster. Regier said dialogue between the two sides was continuing.
Derek Plante missed Tuesday's game against Dallas with back spasms, ending a streak of 134 consecutive games played. Curtis Brown replaced him, playing his first game of the season.

Brad May's shoulder injury will prevent him from playing for the next week or so. Meanwhile, Jason Woolley also will be out for 10 to 14 days with a broken thumb.

The Stars outshot the Sabres, 30-17. . . . Buffalo was 0 for 3 on the power play; Dallas was 0 for 4. . . . Lehtinen's penalty shot was the Stars' first goal on such a play in 12 years.
The Sabres raised a banner before the game commemorating their Northeast Division championship last season.

It was the first such banner raised by the Sabres since the 1980-81 team won the Adams Division title.

Each of the players was individually introduced to the crowd.

The ceremonial first-puck drop was conducted by Milt Ellis and Jack Gatecliff.

Ellis had served as the public address announcer for Buffalo hockey for three decades.

Gatecliff recently retired from his job with the St. Catharines Standard; he had covered the Sabres since the team's start in 1970.

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