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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 overtime.

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 play tonight.

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

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