NHL Preview from The Sports Network |
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
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