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Senators seek split of home-and-home with Sabres

by Brian Hunter

SABRES (7-22-2) at SENATORS (12-14-6)


Last 10: Buffalo 2-7-1; Ottawa 4-4-2

Season series: This is the third of four games this season between the Buffalo Sabres and Ottawa Senators, and the completion of a home-and-home that began Tuesday at First Niagara Center in Buffalo. Zemgus Girgensons scored the game-tying goal in the second period and connected in the 10th round of the shootout when the Sabres won 2-1. Ottawa won 1-0 on Oct. 4.

Big story: If you want to beat the Sabres, do it before the shootout. Buffalo is 3-22-2 in games that end in either regulation or overtime but 4-0 in the penalty-shot tiebreaker. Matt Moulson, Brian Flynn and Steve Ott scored prior to Girgensons, and Mika Zibanejad, Kyle Turris and Milan Michalek answered for Ottawa.

The Senators will be without defenseman Jared Cowen for the rematch. He was suspended two games Wednesday for an illegal check on Girgensons on Tuesday.

Team Scope:

Sabres: Girgensons, the 14th pick in the 2012 NHL Draft, had one goal in his first 28 games but has goals in consecutive games and a three-game point streak.

Ryan Miller helped Buffalo make it as far as a shootout by stopping 35 shots during regulation and overtime. His teammates picked him up a bit from there. Flynn and Ott gave the Sabres leads in the shootout, scoring in the sixth and seventh rounds respectively, but Miller allowed goals to Turris and Michalek that kept the game going. After Girgensons scored in the 10th round, Miller denied Erik Condra to secure the second point.

"We haven't had a chance to win a lot of games," Miller said after his 46th career shootout win, tops in NHL history. "I want to win some games. So, if this is going to be my opportunity to win a game for any number of games, I got to take it and give these guys some confidence."

Senators: Ottawa dropped to 1-5 in shootouts. The Senators hadn't even scored in the skills competition prior to Jason Spezza connecting in a win against the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday, and despite putting three pucks past Miller on Tuesday they were unable to make it two wins in a row.

Robin Lehner had been excellent up to that point, like Miller turning aside 35 shots. But the Senators were never able to build on the lead Michalek established by scoring 6:25 into the game.

"We tried, but unfortunately it comes down to a shootout, and that's not my best right now," Lehner said in the Ottawa Sun.

Who's hot: Miller has a save percentage above .900 in 16 of 22 appearances, including six in a row. Sabres defenseman Christian Ehrhoff has one goal and three assists in his past five games.

Injury report: Buffalo forward Cody Hodgson (undisclosed) will miss the game and defenseman Alexander Sulzer (undisclosed) is on injured reserve. ... Ottawa defenseman Marc Methot (flu) will miss the game and Cody Ceci has been recalled to make his NHL debut.

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