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Pirates, River Rats shuffle off to Buffalo

A light three-game schedule on Tuesday night, is highlighted by the return of AHL hockey to the city of Buffalo as the Portland Pirates, top affiliate of the NHL’s Sabres, take on the Albany River Rats at the HSBC Arena.

If you can’t make it to the rink, you can catch all of tonight’s action on AHL Live.

Buffalo was an AHL port of call for more than three decades, beginning with a brief stint in 1936-37 and then for 30 years from 1940 until the city was granted an NHL expansion team in 1970. The Buffalo Bisons won five Calder Cup championships, taking the AHL title in 1943, 1944, 1946, 1963 and 1970.

Buffalo has been a popular "home away from home" for the AHL ever since. In 1973, the Cincinnati Swords, then the Sabres’ affiliate, clinched the Calder Cup championship before more than 15,000 fans at a packed Memorial Auditorium in Buffalo with a victory over the Nova Scotia Voyageurs.

The Rochester Americans played "home" games in Buffalo often during its long tenure as the Sabres’ affiliate, including four games at the HSBC Arena during the 2004-05 season. On Dec. 28, 2004, the Amerks defeated the Edmonton Road Runners, 2-0, in front of 17,898 fans, the eighth-largest regular-season crowd in AHL history.

Tonight’s game is the third in the AHL this season to be played in an NHL arena. Philadelphia took on Springfield at the Wachovia Center on Nov. 28, and Hamilton entertained Binghamton at the Bell Centre in Montreal on Nov. 30.