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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Wednesday, April 5th (All times eastern)

Ottawa Senators (50-17-7) at Buffalo Sabres (46-23-6), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Ottawa Senators try to take a step closer to wrapping up the Northeast Division title tonight when they visit the Buffalo Sabres at HSBC Arena.

With 107 points, the Sens are nine ahead of the second-place Sabres in the Northeast race. Ottawa has eight games remaining, while Buffalo will take the ice seven more times.

The Senators have won two of their last three games, including Monday's 6-4 home win over Atlanta. Dany Heatley netted two goals to lead the effort.

Jason Spezza had a goal and two assists and Bryan Smolinski added a goal and an assist for the Senators.

Ray Emery, who was named NHL Defensive Player of the Month earlier in the day, made 33 saves in the win for Ottawa, which leads the Eastern Conference chase by three over the second-place Carolina Hurricanes. Emery has started 18 consecutive games with Dominik Hasek sidelined.

Heatley's 45 goals match the franchise record set by former Sens winger Marian Hossa in 2002-03. His 93 points, meanwhile, leave him one shy of tying Alexei Yashin's scoring mark established in 1998-99.

The Senators will host Montreal on Thursday.

Buffalo ended a two-game skid on Monday, as Maxim Afinogenov had a goal and an assist in regulation and scored the only goal of the shootout to lead a 3-2 win over Toronto at the Air Canada Centre. The Sabres clinched a playoff spot with the win.

Derek Roy scored the other regulation goal and Ales Kotalik had two assists for the Sabres, who won for just the second time in their last 10 games. Martin Biron stopped 31 of 33 shots and all three shots he faced in the shootout.

On the injury front, forward Jochen Hecht will be sidelined for about two weeks with a sprained ligament in his left knee. The injury was the result of a hit by Toronto's Darcy Tucker.

The Sabres will host Philadelphia on Friday.

Ottawa is 5-1 against Buffalo this season, and has won six of the last eight meetings overall.

04/05 10:20:18 ET

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