SENATORS (1-4-1) at SABRES (2-4-1)
TV: SNET-E; MSG-B
Season series -- The Northeast Division rivals are meeting for the second time in 15 days. On Oct. 8, the teams opened the season in Ottawa with the Sabres earning a 2-1 victory.
Big story -- Neither team is off to the kind of start it had hoped for. The Sabres snapped a five-game-losing streak on Wednesday with a 4-1 victory in Atlanta, their best performance of the season. Ottawa has been idle since a 4-3 loss at Montreal on Saturday, a game in which the Senators blew a 3-1 lead and were outshot badly.
Senators -- With five days between games, Senators coach Cory Clouston decided Wednesday was a good day for a little bag skate, so he held one at the end of practice. Meanwhile, GM Bryan Murray made it clear that he's shopping for help for his struggling team.
Clouston hopes that a visit to HSBC Arena, where the Senators have won four in a row and eight of their last nine, will help het his team turned around.
"We have confidence there and that's the big thing," Clouston said before the team headed for Buffalo. "We play well in that barn. And we get some good goaltending in there. I think Brian (Elliott) has a lot of confidence in that building and against that team.
Sabres -- Buffalo played its most complete game of the season in the victory at Atlanta. The Sabres outshot the Thrashers 42-18, giving Ryan Miller a rare easy night, and got goals from four players. Three of the scorers -- Tyler Ennis, Tyler Myers and Thomas Vanek -- lit the lamp for the first time this season.
"I think the pace of our game has been so much better," coach Lindy Ruff said. "I think we can take what we did the last two road games and bring that back home with us. I like our focus."
Who's hot -- Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson has 4 points in his last three games. Alfredsson and Spezza share the team lead with 5 points in six games. … Miller has a 1.33 goals-against average in his last three starts.
Injury report -- Ottawa is still without goaltender Pascal Leclaire (groin) and defenseman Filip Kuba (broken leg). … Sabres forward Jason Pominville, sidelined since Oct. 11 with a concussion, took part in practice for the first time since the injury when he skated on Thursday. He says he's happy with his progress, but there's no timetable for his return.
Stat pack -- Buffalo has outshot its opponents (Chicago and Atlanta) 83-39 in its last two games… Despite its recent hot streak in Buffalo, the Senators are still 19-23-3-4 all-time there.
Puck drop -- It's been 17 years since the Sabres lost their first five home games, but that's what will happen if they don't beat the Senators. The last time they started a season at home this badly was 1993-94, when they lost their first seven in Buffalo. The Senators are 0-3-1 on the road -- their worst start away from Ottawa since setting an NHL record by losing their first 38 road games in 1992-93, their first season in the NHL.