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Sabres return home to host Senators

by Brian Compton
SENATORS (25-34-9) at SABRES (33-27-8)

TV: SNET-E, MSG-Buffalo.

Last 10: Ottawa 7-3-0; Buffalo 6-2-2.

Season Series: This is the sixth and final meeting between the Northeast Division rivals. Buffalo has won four of the first five matchups and the last three in a row.

Big Story: The Sabres enter the game in eighth place in the Eastern Conference after completing a seven-game road trip with a record of 4-2-1. Buffalo was in position for a fifth win on Saturday night, but it allowed a pair of goals in a span of 2:33 in what ultimately turned into a 4-3 loss at Toronto. The Sabres will now play the next four games at HSBC Arena.

Team Scope:

Senators: Ottawa has looked like a completely different team as of late. With Craig Anderson on the bench for the first time since being acquired from Colorado on Feb. 18, backup Curtis McElhinney made 34 saves in the Sens' 2-1 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning at the St. Pete Times Forum.

"He's being playing phenomenal for a while, but for me to get a chance to jump in there and contribute felt great," McElhinney said. "To go out and put up a good performance and the guys score a few goals, it felt good."

Sabres: History suggested that Buffalo would earn another two points in the standings on Saturday night when you consider how Ryan Miller has fared against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The former U.S. Olympian goalie entered the night with a 24-9-0 record, 2.17 goals-against average and .931 save percentage versus the Leafs, but Toronto managed to get a lot of traffic in front of Miller at the Air Canada Centre, and it paid off with some fortunate bounces.

Phil Kessel scored the game-winner at 6:36 of the third period with a shot that banked in off the skate of Buffalo defenseman Steve Montador.

"They got lucky," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said about the Leafs. "(The) puck went off the skate, sometimes you've got to live with that."

Who's Hot: Sens center Jason Spezza has 15 points in his last 16 games. … Sabres forward Jochen Hecht has two goals in his last three contests.

Injury Report: Ottawa will be without Milan Michalek (foot), Peter Regin (shoulder), Daniel Alfredsson (back), Matt Carkner (knee) and Pascal Leclaire (lower body). … Buffalo is expected to be missing Derek Roy (quad tear), Patrick Kaleta (knee), Chris Butler (upper body), Paul Gaustad (upper body), Drew Stafford (hamstring) and Patrick Lalime (knee).

Stat Pack: Erik Karlsson is the first Sens defenseman with 11 goals since Zdeno Chara had 16 with the club in 2005-06.

Puck Drop: "We're giving the goaltenders that lead to play with. It's much easier to play the game when you've got the lead, but tonight, we'll throw the third period away except for the fact that we found a way to win." -- Ottawa coach Cory Clouston
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