NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, November 21st
(All times eastern)
Buffalo Sabres (12-5-2) at Ottawa Senators (10-6-3), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Ottawa Senators seek a season high-tying third straight
victory tonight in a matchup with the Buffalo Sabres at Scotiabank Place.
Ottawa comes into this contest 2-0-1 on a five-game homestand, winning
consecutive contests on the residency after a 2-1 shootout loss to the New
York Rangers last Saturday. Following a one-goal victory over Toronto on
Tuesday, the club exploded late in a 6-2 triumph over Pittsburgh.
Skating in his 800th career game, Chris Phillips had two of the Senators' four
third-period goals. Jonathan Cheechoo and Chris Kelly also scored in the
frame, while Matt Carkner sparked an Ottawa string of six straight goals with
a first-period tally.
Milan Michalek scored in the second period and Pascal Leclaire made 25 saves
for the Senators, who won back-to-back games for the first time since October
15 and 17. A victory tonight would match Ottawa's season-high three-game win
streak from October 6-10.
"It was close going into the third...it was nice to get those bounces. We felt
like we were working pretty hard for it. We knew it was a matter of time until
we started to score a few more goals -- and it was a good time to do it," said
forward Mike Fisher, who had three assists.
Ottawa, which had its best offensive output since potting seven goals versus
Tampa Bay on October 15, improved to 7-3-3 overall at home this year.
However, the club will skate tonight without forwards Alex Kovalev and Shean
Donovan. Kovalev, who has five assists in his last seven games, returned home
to Russia following the death of his mother-in-law and isn't expected to
return to the club until at least Monday.
Donovan, meanwhile, suffered a knee injury versus the Penguins that may
sideline him for some time.
The Sabres will try to avoid losing three games in a row for the first time
this season. They hosted the Bruins last night, dropping a 2-1 decision in
Ryan Miller stopped 24 shots, but couldn't save Patrice Bergeron's tip-in 47
seconds into OT. Paul Gaustad netted the only goal for Buffalo early in the
first period, tipping home a Jason Pominville blast.
"Our first period was really good," Pominville said. "In the first and third
we got our legs moving and got our forward deep, but our second [period] just
wasn't good enough."
While Mike Grier missed his fourth game in a row with a strained groin, Drew
Stafford left last night's game with a lower-body ailment. He is unlikely to
Buffalo, which leads Boston by two points for first place in the Northeast
Division and is three points up on Ottawa, begins a three-game road trip this
evening and is 5-2-0 as the guest this year.
This is the first of six meetings between the Northeast Division rivals this
year. The Senators took five of six last year, including each of the last
four, and has won three straight and eight of the last 10 played in Ottawa
between the clubs.
11/21 10:37:52 ET