NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, February 25th (All times eastern)
Ottawa Senators (20-31-9) at Buffalo Sabres (28-25-6), 7:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The playoff-hopeful Sabres will try to deny the lowly Ottawa Senators a third straight victory when Buffalo hosts its Northeast Division rival tonight at HSBC Arena.
Buffalo helped its postseason cause Wednesday evening by ending a three-game slide with a victory over the visiting Atlanta Thrashers. The Sabres are currently trailing Carolina by three points for the Eastern Conference's eighth and final playoff seed. The Hurricanes are in action tonight against Pittsburgh.
The Sabres are coming off a 4-1 decision over the Thrashers, as Ryan Miller stopped 40 shots to help Buffalo give its new team owner a victory. On Tuesday, the team announced that Terry Pegula had officially become the fourth owner of the team. Prior to the start of Wednesday's game, he walked onto the ice along with his son, who dropped the ceremonial first puck, to introduce himself to the fans.
Tyler Myers had a goal and an assist while Paul Gaustad, Jason Pominville and Tyler Ennis also scored for the Sabres.
"There were a lot of good things that came out of the win tonight," said Myers. "It was Mr. Pegula's first win as an owner and our first win for the fans in a little while."
Buffalo is 1-3-0 so far on six-game homestand that is set to end tomorrow against Detroit. The Sabres are 13-15-2 as the host this season.
The Sabres have taken three of four meetings with the Senators this season, but Ottawa still has 10 victories in the last 14 encounters. The Sens have also won five straight and nine of its last 10 games in Buffalo.
Ottawa is last in the division and conference, but the Senators are coming off wins against Toronto and Florida. The Sens haven't won three in a row since a four-game hot streak from Nov. 2-9.
The Senators traded away winger Alex Kovalev on Thursday, dealing the enigmatic sniper to Pittsburgh for a conditional seventh-round draft pick. Kovalev, 38, has 14 goals and 27 points in 54 games this season, his second with Ottawa after signing a two-year contract in 2009.
Another player the Sens acquired in a recent trade has been making a positive impact for the club. Craig Anderson has won his first two starts in net for Ottawa after coming over from Colorado last week in exchange for goaltender Brian Elliott.
Anderson made 23 saves and Bobby Butler scored twice to lift Ottawa to a 5-1 victory over the visiting Florida Panthers. Anderson, who played for the Panthers before signing a two-year deal with Colorado prior to last season, is expected to start again tonight.
Butler tallied in the first and second periods and has scored all five of his goals this season in the last five games.
"Bobby's playing great right now," said Senators forward Milan Michalek. "He's got some confidence, scoring some goals and making some great plays."
Jason Spezza added a goal and two assists for the Senators, who halted a 10- game winless streak at home. It was their first home victory since Dec. 26, when they beat Pittsburgh by a 3-1 score.
Ryan Shannon also had a goal and an assist to help Ottawa win two straight for the first time since Dec. 23-26.
The Sens have won two straight on the road, but are still just 10-15-4 as the guest this season.
Ottawa defenseman Erik Karlsson could be back tonight after missing the last two games with an upper-body injury. Sens forward Jesse Winchester, who has sat out the last six tests with a lower-body issue, may be activated from injured reserve in time to play in tonight's game.
02/25 11:01:27 ET