Considering that the Buffalo Sabres have won once in their last 10 road games, playing their next four away from home doesn't figure to help them solidify their lead in the Northeast Division.
The Sabres, however, may be eager to visit four Southeast Division foes who are not in playoff position, a stretch they'll begin Tuesday night when they try to deal the Atlanta Thrashers a seventh straight defeat.
Buffalo (36-21-10) is 1-6-3 in its last 10 road games, one reason the team briefly surrendered first place to Ottawa. But the Sabres have gone 3-1-1 in their last five games overall to regain the Northeast's top spot, three points ahead of the Senators with two games in hand.
They opened a five-game road trip with a 3-2 overtime loss at Detroit on Saturday, but the Sabres have a chance for a better result at each of their next four stops.
Buffalo will close its trip by facing every Southeast team except NHL-leading Washington. The other four clubs in the division are all among the bottom six in the Eastern Conference.
The Sabres still have issues of their own to sort out en route to the postseason, including a power play that has been ineffective lately. Buffalo has gone 2 for 42 (4.8 percent) with the man advantage in its last 13 games -- including 0 for 16 in its last five on the road.
"I think if you want to point to one thing, it's the one area that I really haven't been able to change enough," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff told his team's official Web site. "We're going to continue to work on it. … The message I've been sending obviously hasn't been working on the road. We're trying to change and have been going in a little different direction in the last two or three practices."
A power-play goal by Derek Roy in overtime on Jan. 14 -- Buffalo's only one in seven opportunities that night -- gave the Sabres a 2-1 win in their last visit to Atlanta.
Ryan Miller made 32 saves for Buffalo that night, improving to 8-2-4 with a 2.46 career goals-against average against the Thrashers.
Atlanta, which traded away leading scorer Ilya Kovalchuk last month, may have trouble solving Miller considering its recent offensive problems.
During their six-game losing streak, the Thrashers (28-29-11) have totaled eight goals, scoring two or fewer in each game. They put 41 shots on net against Phoenix on Sunday, but lost 3-2 in a shootout.
"The game shouldn't have been that close, but we couldn't put one in the net," Atlanta coach John Anderson said. "That's been a problem lately, but our power play did score two goals, so that's a bit of a plus."
Maxim Afinogenov and Nik Antropov each had a goal and an assist on the power play against the Coyotes, as Afinogenov snapped a streak of five games without a point.
After spending nine seasons with Buffalo, Afinogenov is in his first with the Thrashers. He scored the final goal in Atlanta's 4-2 win over the Sabres on Oct. 17, but he has been held without a point in the last two meetings, both overtime wins for Buffalo.
This game will be Thrashers forward Clarke MacArthur's first against the Sabres, who traded him to Atlanta for draft picks on March 3.