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Sens, Sabres kick off home-and-home in Buffalo

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Ottawa Senators will try to record consecutive wins for the first time in over a month when they visit the lowly Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday for the opener of a home-and-home series.

The Senators halted a two-game slide with Monday's shootout decision against visiting Philadelphia. It was only the fourth win in the last 12 games for Ottawa, which hasn't won two in a row since a season-best three-game winning streak from Nov. 5-9.

Jason Spezza scored in the third round of the shootout to lift Ottawa to a 5-4 triumph over the Flyers. Spezza was the final shooter for Ottawa and he slowed down in front of the net before deking to the forehand and stuffing the puck in. Sean Couturier then rung his wrister off the right post to end the game.

"We talked about getting more consistent in our play," said Spezza. "We all knew that if we can be on the same page, we'll have better results and it's starting to show."

Clarke MacArthur scored twice and Kyle Turris and Patrick Wiercioch each posted a goal for the Senators, who came into the game having lost four of five. Craig Anderson gave up four goals on 29 shots, but stopped all three attempts in the shootout to earn the win.

With the Senators playing on back-to-back nights, Robin Lehner could get the start in net for Ottawa on Tuesday.

The Senators, who will host the Sabres on Thursday, are 7-6-2 as the road team this season.

Ottawa has held the upper hand against the Sabres in recent seasons, winning seven of the last nine games in this series. However, all but two of the Sens' seven victories during that stretch have come by a single goal.

The Sens and Sabres met for the first of four meetings this season back on Oct. 4 in Buffalo and Ottawa recorded a 1-0 win. Erik Karlsson scored with 1:35 left in the third period for the Senators and Anderson stopped all 35 shots for the shutout, his second career white-washing against the Sabres.

Ottawa has claimed four of the last five meetings against the Sabres in Buffalo.

After this week's home-and-home set, the Sabres and Sens won't meet again until they cap their season series on Feb. 6 in Ottawa.

With only 14 points through 30 games, the Sabres are still sitting at the bottom of the NHL standings and they enter Tuesday's tilt having lost three straight and eight of their last nine games.

It's been a season-long struggle for Buffalo and things haven't gotten any better since the club fired head coach Ron Rolston last month and replaced him with Ted Nolan on an interim basis. The Sabres were 4-15-1 under Rolston this season and are just 2-7-1 in their first 10 games since the coaching change.

Buffalo last played on Saturday when it dropped a 3-2 regulation decision in Montreal. Brandon Prust and Tomas Plekanec both tallied a goal and an assist for the Habs and Montreal goaltender Carey Price stopped 23 shots to post the win.

Tyler Ennis had a goal and an assist for the Sabres and Zemgus Girgensons accounted for the team's other goal. Jhonas Enroth allowed three goals on 19 shots in the defeat.

"I could've come up with one of those saves. It wasn't good enough tonight. All three were one-timers, but I think I could have stopped one of those goals," said Enroth.

Ryan Miller is expected to get the start Tuesday and is 15-18-4 with a 2.67 goals against average in 38 career games against the Senators.

Beginning with tonight's tilt, the Sabres are playing three of their next four games at First Niagara Center. Buffalo has a dreadful 3-12-1 home record this season and has lost four of its last five as the host.

12/10 11:17:34 ET

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Schedule

Thursday, April 17Full Scoreboard
Philadelphia 4/17 7:00 PM ET
NY Rangers @theRink | TV: TSN, CNBC, CSN-PHI, MSG
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game One.
Chicago 4/17 8:00 PM ET
St. Louis @theRink | TV: NBCSN, CSN-CHI, FSN-MW
Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game One.
Minnesota 4/17 9:30 PM ET
Colorado TSN, CNBC, CSN-PHI, MSG
Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game One.
Los Angeles 4/17 10:30 PM ET
San Jose NBCSN, CBC, FSN-W
Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game One.
Full Scoreboard

Standings

2013 - 2014 NHL Eastern Conference Standings
 
Atlantic Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
p-Boston 54 19 9 117 261 177 31-7-3 23-12-6 18-9-3
x-Tampa Bay 46 27 9 101 240 215 25-10-6 21-17-3 19-8-3
x-Montreal 46 28 8 100 215 204 23-13-5 23-15-3 18-8-4
x-Detroit 39 28 15 93 222 230 18-13-10 21-15-5 17-8-5
Ottawa 37 31 14 88 236 265 18-17-6 19-14-8 14-9-7
Toronto 38 36 8 84 231 256 24-16-1 14-20-7 14-13-3
Florida 29 45 8 66 196 268 16-20-5 13-25-3 13-16-1
Buffalo 21 51 10 52 157 248 13-21-7 8-30-3 7-18-5
 
Metropolitan Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
y-Pittsburgh 51 24 7 109 249 207 28-9-4 23-15-3 20-8-2
x-NY Rangers 45 31 6 96 218 193 20-17-4 25-14-2 16-11-3
x-Philadelphia 42 30 10 94 236 235 24-14-3 18-16-7 15-11-4
x-Columbus 43 32 7 93 231 216 22-15-4 21-17-3 16-13-1
Washington 38 30 14 90 235 240 21-13-7 17-17-7 12-15-3
New Jersey 35 29 18 88 197 208 21-11-9 14-18-9 16-9-5
Carolina 36 35 11 83 207 230 18-17-6 18-18-5 15-13-2
NY Islanders 34 37 11 79 225 267 13-19-9 21-18-2 10-16-4
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
z= clinched overall points title
2013 - 2014 NHL Western Conference Standings
 
Central Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
y-Colorado 52 22 8 112 250 220 26-11-4 26-11-4 19-6-3
x-St. Louis 52 23 7 111 248 191 28-9-4 24-14-3 21-6-2
x-Chicago 46 21 15 107 267 220 27-7-7 19-14-8 13-13-3
x-Minnesota 43 27 12 98 207 206 26-10-5 17-17-7 14-12-3
x-Dallas 40 31 11 91 235 228 23-11-7 17-20-4 13-11-5
Nashville 38 32 12 88 216 242 19-17-5 19-15-7 12-13-4
Winnipeg 37 35 10 84 227 237 18-17-6 19-18-4 9-15-5
 
Pacific Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
z-Anaheim 54 20 8 116 266 209 29-8-4 25-12-4 22-4-3
x-San Jose 51 22 9 111 249 200 29-7-5 22-15-4 18-7-3
x-Los Angeles 46 28 8 100 206 174 23-14-4 23-14-4 16-10-3
Phoenix 37 30 15 89 216 231 22-14-5 15-16-10 14-9-6
Vancouver 36 35 11 83 196 223 20-15-6 16-20-5 12-13-4
Calgary 35 40 7 77 209 241 19-19-3 16-21-4 11-15-3
Edmonton 29 44 9 67 203 270 16-22-3 13-22-6 8-17-4
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
z= clinched overall points title
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Scoreboard
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Final
PHI 1
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CLE 5
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MIN 7
TOR 0
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TEX 8
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5th
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LOS 2
 
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COL
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STL
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NYY
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HOU
KAN
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PHI
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STL
CHI
9:30pm Tonight
COL
MIN
10:30pm Tonight
SJS
LOS
7:05pm Tonight
DUR
NOR