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The pain on Andrew Peters' face was obvious after his thumb was bitten in the Buffalo Sabres' last game. A fourth consecutive win might help alleviate any lingering discomfort.
The Sabres look for their longest winning streak since opening the season with four straight victories as they host the slumping New York Rangers on Friday night.
Buffalo (20-15-5) defeated Ottawa 4-2 on Tuesday for its third straight win, but a first-period incident involving Peters stole the headlines. Peters got tied up with the Senators' Jarkko Ruutu, then pulled away after his gloved right thumb was bitten. Peters received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the play while Ruutu - who denied biting the Sabres' enforcer - was not penalized until Wednesday, when the league suspended him two games without pay.
"Obviously, I'm happy about it and glad the NHL took notice," Peters said of the suspension. "That's all I could ask for. It's a good result at the end of the day. It's a fair penalty."
Derek Roy, who leads Buffalo with 38 points this season, extended his point streak to three games on Tuesday with a goal and two assists. In the Sabres' 3-1 win over the Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Oct. 15, Roy assisted on Thomas Vanek's second-period game winner.
Vanek received some good news on Thursday as he was named to his first All-Star game. The 24-year-old Vanek is also the first NHL All-Star to be born in Austria. The fourth-year left wing's 27 goals are tied with Philadelphia's Jeff Carter and Washington star Alex Ovechkin for the league lead.
"I think he deserves a lot of credit," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff told the team's official Web site. "He put a lot of work into the offseason, he's put a lot of work into the first half of the season. It's well deserved."
Vanek has four goals and an assist in his last four games versus the Rangers.
Joining Vanek on the Eastern Conference squad Jan. 25 in Montreal will be another first-timer - New York's Henrik Lundqvist. The Rangers goalie is among the league leaders in wins with 20, but is only 4-6-1 with a 3.71 GAA in his last 11 starts. In Wednesday's 6-3 loss to Montreal, he allowed five goals on 24 shots as New York (24-15-3) fell for the fifth time in seven games.
"I didn't feel that well this morning after a tough game, but things like this always cheer you up," said Lundqvist, a three-time Vezina Trophy finalist. "Even though I didn't feel like an All-Star last night, I've had some pretty good games this season. I need to be a little more consistent."
Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller has been excellent lately, posting a 1.67 GAA during the Sabres' winning streak.
"Let's hope we can keep stringing these together and getting a good feeling about what it means to play as a team," he said.
New York looks to avoid its third straight road loss as it opens a five-game trip. The Rangers have won their last two visits to Buffalo.