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GAME: Buffalo Sabres (44-16-5) at Ottawa Senators (44-15-6).
TIME: Saturday, 7 p.m. EST.
Two of the league's hottest teams meet with first place in the Northeast Division at stake as the Buffalo Sabres take on the Ottawa Senators at Scotiabank Place.
Buffalo, which is looking for its first nine-game winning streak in more than 22 years, trails Ottawa by one point for the division lead.
Ottawa, 8-1-1 in its last 10 games, is two points behind Carolina for the league lead.
After this contest, the Sabres and Senators will meet three more times over their final 17 games.
The Sabres had their franchise record-tying streak of four straight games with at least six goals end with Thursday's 3-1 home win over Toronto. The last time they had scored six goals in four straight games was 1982.
"That's more our game," Sabres center Chris Drury said of the Toronto win. "We were able to play our style. But we'll take them anyway we can get them right now."
Ryan Miller made 27 saves after allowing 14 goals in his previous three starts. Drury had two goals and an assist, and Mike Grier's goal with 11:46 left made it 2-1.
Center Daniel Briere's drew an assist in the win. He has five goals and 12 assists in nine games after missing 24 with a sports hernia.
The Sabres, who last won eight straight during the 1998 postseason, have not made the playoffs since losing in the 2001 Eastern Conference semifinals.
"There's no quit in this team," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. "You can't get much hotter."
Ottawa is coming off a 3-2 shootout loss Thursday to Boston. Rookie goaltender Ray Emery, who has started the last nine games while Dominik Hasek recovers from a groin injury, allowed the lone shootout goal to Patrice Bergeron in the loss.
Jason Spezza and Antoine Vermette had third-period goals to help Ottawa earn one point after it trailed 2-0. Spezza failed on the final shootout attempt.
"It was good to see us come back and keep playing hard," Vermette said. "In the playoffs, you won't take the lead every time."
The Sabres' 21 road wins lead the Eastern Conference, but they have been outscored 18-2 in three straight losses in Scotiabank Place.
Ottawa's 24 home wins rank second among Eastern Conference teams.
STANDINGS: Sabres - 93 points, 2nd place, 1 PB, Northeast Division. Senators - 94 points, 1st place, Northeast Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Sabres - Ales Kotalik, 24 goals and 53 points; Teppo Numminen, 36 assists; Andrew Peters, 63 PIM. Senators - Dany Heatley, 38 goals and 84 points; Spezza, 52 assists; Chris Neil, 157 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Sabres - Power play: 21.7 percent (85 for 391), second in NHL. Penalty killing: 85.6 percent (292 for 341), third. Senators - Power play: 20.4 percent (78 for 382), third. Penalty killing: 86.0 percent (339 for 394), second.
GOALTENDERS: Sabres - Miller (25-8-2, 0 SO, 2.45 GAA); Martin Biron (18-6-3, 0, 2.87). Senators - Emery (16-5-2, 2, 2.76); Hasek (28-10-4, 5, 2.09).
SEASON SERIES: Senators, 3-1.
LAST MEETING: Feb. 4; Sabres, 2-1 (SO). At Buffalo, N.Y., Miller made 28 saves and stopped all three shootout attempts for Buffalo. Thomas Vanek had the lone shootout goal, and Kotalik scored in regulation for Buffalo. Bryan Smolinski scored and Hasek had 26 saves for Ottawa.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Sabres - 21-8-2 on the road; Senators - 24-6-1 at home.
|Apr 08 '06||BUF 6 at OTT 2||T. Pyatt|
|Apr 05 '06||OTT 4 at BUF 5 - OT||D. Briere|
|Mar 24 '06||OTT 3 at BUF 1||A. Vermette|
|Mar 18 '06||BUF 2 at OTT 4||B. Smolinski|
|Feb 04 '06||OTT 1 at BUF 2 - SO||T. Vanek|
|Nov 12 '05||BUF 1 at OTT 6||D. Alfredsson|
|Nov 02 '05||OTT 10 at BUF 4||M. Havlat|
|Oct 08 '05||BUF 0 at OTT 5||J. Spezza|