<
>

Schaefer, Smolinski lead Sens past Sabres in Ottawa

OTTAWA (AP) -- The Ottawa Senators sent a message to the Buffalo
Sabres -- and the Carolina Hurricanes.

Peter Schaefer and Bryan Smolinski each had a goal and an assist
and the Senators beat Buffalo 4-2 on Saturday night to tie Carolina
for the Eastern Conference lead and end the Sabres' winning streak
at eight games.

Zdeno Chara added a power-play goal and Chris Kelly scored into
an empty net to help Ottawa win for the fourth time in five games
and improve to 9-1-1 in its last 11.

Ottawa held off the Sabres' challenge for first place in the
Northeast Division and moved into a tie for the top spot in the
Eastern Conference with Carolina, a 4-2 loser on Saturday in
Boston.

"They were sniffing behind us in the standings and playing
great, but we came out hard," Schaefer said.

The Senators outshot Buffalo 49-22, the most shots Ottawa has
had in a game this season and also the most the Sabres have
allowed.

"I thought we played very well," Senators coach Bryan Murray
said. "We didn't capitalize on a lot of the chances we have, but
the effort was great. And we didn't give up a lot of chances."

Ray Emery, starting his 10th straight game in the absence of the
injured Dominik Hasek, made 20 saves to improve to 8-1-1 since the
Olympic break.

Maxim Afinogenov had a goal and an assist for Buffalo and Daniel
Briere also scored on the power play to reach the 20-goal mark for
the third time in his career.

"For a game like this, there's no excuses," Briere said. "We
seem to play well against the Senators when we play at home, but
there's some guys that have to show up on the road. Yeah, they took
control of the game, but we never got back."

Ryan Miller made 45 saves for Buffalo.

"It's tough to get your feet going against this team," Miller
said. "We got caught chasing the puck. They're a good team, they
got a lot of pucks at the net. We got behind early in the penalties
and it threw us off our rhythm."

Game notes
The Sabres' winning streak was their longest since they won
10 straight in January 1984. Buffalo was attempting to take a
division lead this late in the season for the first time since
1996-97. ... Schaefer played in his 400th NHL game. ... Senators
center Jason Spezza had his 100th career assist. ... The game was
Ottawa's 28th sellout of the season in 32 contests at home.