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Thursday, May 11th (All times eastern)

(1) Ottawa Senators (0-3) at (4) Buffalo Sabres (3-0), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Buffalo Sabres try to sweep their way to the next round tonight when they host the top-seeded Ottawa Senators in Game 4 of their conference semifinal set at HSBC Arena.

Buffalo, which defeated Philadelphia in six games during the first round, is in this position on the strength of three one-goal wins. On Wednesday the Sabres posted a 3-2 overtime decision at home to push the Senators to the brink of elimination.

There was some speculation that the Senators might have six-time Vezina winner Dominik Hasek on the ice for Game 4. However, after practice today he said he will not play this evening. Hasek has been sidelined since the Olympics, where he suffered a strained adductor muscle injury in the Czech Republic's opener.

On Wednesday, J.P. Dumont scored 5:05 into overtime to lead the Sabres to their win. Ottawa had tied the game with 90 seconds remaining in regulation to force the extra session.

Maxim Afinogenov and Chris Drury scored for the Sabres, while rookie goaltender Ryan Miller finished with 26 saves. Buffalo has won five straight contests, as they closed out the Flyers with victories in Games 5 and 6.

Jason Spezza scored both goals and Daniel Alfredsson assisted on the tallies for the Senators. Ray Emery, who has been playing in place of the injured Hasek, stopped 21 shots in the losing effort.

Ottawa is staring yet another postseason failure right in the face. Despite being among the best regular season clubs in recent history, the Senators have advanced to the conference finals only once -- losing to New Jersey in 2003.

Buffalo, meanwhile, can move on to the conference finals for the first time since 1999, the year the team fell to Dallas in the Stanley Cup Finals. The Sabres also made it to the East finals the previous spring, losing to Washington.

In their playoff history, the Sabres have never lost Game 4 when leading a series 3-0. The Sabres have swept four best-of-seven sets all-time, the last time in the 1999 conference quarterfinals against Ottawa.

Ottawa was last swept in 2001, as the rival Maple Leafs did the deed against the Sens in the first round.

Only two teams in NHL history -- the 1942 Maple Leafs and 1975 Islanders -- have ever come back to win a series after trailing three games to none.

Game 5, if necessary, would be played Saturday at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa.

05/11 15:05:15 ET


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