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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