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Senators, Sabres both looking to get back in win column

by Mike G. Morreale

SABRES (3-5-1) at SENATORS (5-3-1)


Season series: This is the first of four meetings between the Northeast Division foes. The teams split the six-game series in 2011-12, with the Sabres scoring a 4-3 shootout victory in the series finale behind a 36-save performance from goalie Ryan Miller.

Big story: Both teams are coming off consecutive losses, but Ottawa has yet to lose in regulation (3-0-1) on home ice this season. The Senators, who will open a four-game homestand beginning with the Sabres, are sixth in the Eastern Conference standings with 11 points and the Sabres are currently 11th with seven points. The Senators have obviously had to adjust to life without top center Jason Spezza, who was diagnosed with a herniated disk late last month and remains out indefinitely.

Team Scope:

Sabres: The Sabres yielded three unanswered goals to the Panthers on Sunday in a 4-3 loss at First Niagara Center. Forwards Thomas Vanek and Cody Hodgson each had a goal and two assists in the loss, and Jason Pominville also connected as the Sabres opened a 3-1 edge. The Vanek-Hodgson-Pominville line has produced 18 of the 27 goals scored by Buffalo this season.

"That line has played really well," coach Lindy Ruff said. "They've got great chemistry and played well, made great plays, but we do need other people to get on the scoreboard."

Senators: The Senators put 33 shots on Canadiens goalie Carey Price on Sunday but could only find the back of the cage once in a 2-1 loss at Bell Centre. Jakob Silfverberg scored the only goal for Ottawa, which suffered its third straight loss on the road. Goalie Craig Anderson (5-2-1, 1.12 goals-against average, .964 save percentage) still has not allowed a single goal after the first intermission in any of his eight appearances in 2012-13.

Who's hot: Vanek has eight goals and a League-leading 19 points in eight games for the Sabres, including four multi-point games. … Anderson, who leads the NHL in save percentage (.964) and goals-against average, has stopped 242 of 251 shots in regulation and overtime for the Senators.

Injury report: Sabres defensemen Andrej Sekera (lower body) and Robyn Regehr (foot) are both questionable. … Ottawa defenseman Sergei Gonchar and forward Guillaume Latendresse are each battling the flu and listed as questionable. Defenseman Mike Lundin (thumb) is expected to miss the next three weeks.

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