NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, January 9th (All times eastern)
Ottawa Senators (22-10-5-3) at Buffalo Sabres (16-20-5-1), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The surging Ottawa Senators seek their seventh consecutive win tonight when they visit the Buffalo Sabres at HSBC Arena.
The Sens, 9-0-2 in their last 11 games overall, have drawn within five points of first-place Toronto in the Northeast Division standings. On Thursday Ottawa took care of its business first-hand, trouncing the shorthanded Maple Leafs, 7-1, at Air Canada Centre.
Bryan Smolinski recorded a goal and two assists in a five-goal Ottawa first period to spark the Senators. Chris Neil, Wade Redden, Radek Bonk and Jason Spezza also scored goals in the opening stanza for Ottawa, which has outgunned its opponents 42-16 during its tear.
Martin Prusek earned the win by stopping 34 Toronto shots, and Martin Havlat and Redden also chipped in with third-period goals. Prusek is 8-1 in his last nine starts.
Prusek started in place of regular netminder Patrick Lalime, who sat out due to back spasms. Lalime did, however, dress as the backup.
Ottawa, 5-0-2 in its last seven road games, opened a four-game swing and will visit Carolina on Sunday.
Buffalo, meanwhile, is winless in three straight (0-1-2), but has lost only once in the last five (2-1-2). On Wednesday, Martin Biron stopped 44 shots in his fifth consecutive start to help Buffalo skate to a 1-1 tie with Philadelphia at HSBC Arena.
Alexei Zhitnik lit the lamp for the Sabres, who moved to 4-9-3 in their last 16 tries. Buffalo, 3-0-2 in its last five at home, will host Ottawa on Friday.
Biron's night included a 17-save first period, as he staved off a dominating effort by Philadelphia in the frame. He has allowed two goals or less in four of the five games since fellow backstop Mika Noronen went down with a groin injury.
Buffalo will visit Boston on Monday.
The Sabres are 1-0-2 against the Senators this season, but Ottawa is 4-2-2 in the last eight meetings. The Sens are 2-0-1 in their last three trips to HSBC Arena.
01/09 10:23:47 ET