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Sabres, Coyotes could have interesting road to finish line

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- While the Sabres were a desperate, hungry team Monday, the Coyotes were awful. Perhaps the return home after a week out East caused the lethargy. Maybe the Sabres just want to avoid 30th more than them.

The final two weeks of the season won't be easy for either team. Here's the breakdown:

*Strength of schedule - The Coyotes' remaining five opponents (San Jose twice, Calgary, Vancouver and Anaheim) have a points percentage of .594. The Sabres' six opponents (Toronto, Chicago, New York Islanders, Carolina, Columbus and Pittsburgh) are at .542.

*Playoff teams - Buffalo and Arizona each have to face three playoff teams. The Sabres will host Chicago, visit the Islanders and close the season at home against Pittsburgh. Arizona visits Calgary and Vancouver before wrapping up the year at home against Anaheim.

The season ends April 11 for both clubs.

*Home games - Arizona plays two of its five games at home. The Sabres play four of their six at home.

It'll be interesting to see if the games in Buffalo are a help or hindrance to the Sabres. They were taken aback and peeved that folks wearing Blue and Gold rooted for the Coyotes last week. With the stakes remaining high, the atmosphere should continue to be mixed.

Wednesday night's game likely won't be an accurate measuring stick because Leafs fans always invade downtown and cheer against Buffalo.

The Coyotes have performed slightly better away from the desert. They are 13-22-3 on the road and 10-24-5 at home. The Sabres are 12-20-5 in Buffalo and 9-27-3 on the road.

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