Final SO

Series (Game 7 of 8)

Ottawa leads 5-3

Game 1: Saturday, October 7th
Game 2: Wednesday, November 15th
Game 3: Saturday, November 18th
Game 4: Saturday, December 16th
Game 5: Wednesday, January 3rd
Game 6: Wednesday, February 7th
Game 7: Thursday, February 22nd
Game 8: Saturday, February 24th

Senators 5

(35-22-4, 74 pts)

Sabres 6

(41-15-5, 87 pts)

7:00 PM ET, February 22, 2007

First Niagara Center, Buffalo, New York

1 2 3 SO T
OTT 2 1 2 05
BUF 1 3 1 16

D. Stafford (Sabres - RW): Goals: 0, Assists: 2

T. Vanek (Sabres - LW): Goals: 2, Assists: 0

D. Heatley (Senators - LW): Goals: 2, Assists: 1

Senators-Sabres Preview

STATS Writer

The Ottawa Senators look to extend their winning streak to a season-high six games Thursday night when they begin a home-and-home series with a Buffalo Sabres team that leads the NHL in points.

Ottawa (35-22-3) is in second place in the Northeast Division, 12 points back of Buffalo (40-15-5), which has a league-high 85. The Senators, though, have won four of the first six meetings between the teams this season.

Their last loss, however, was 3-2 at Buffalo on Feb. 7. Since that defeat, Ottawa has won five in a row, including a 4-3 shootout victory over Edmonton on Tuesday night.

Martin Gerber, filling in for a suspended Ray Emery, made 27 saves before thwarting both shootout attempts after allowing two goals in the final 4:12 of regulation to help Bryan Murray become the fifth coach to win 600 games.

"It's elite company, no question about it, and I respect it a great deal," Murray said. "To win that many games it's a great compliment to the players I've had, to the teams I've coached."

Emery is eligible to return Thursday after being suspended three games by the NHL for slashing Montreal's Maxim Lapierre on Feb. 10, and although Gerber has won his last six starts, could get the nod in this game.

Emery is 4-1-0 with a 2.01 goals-against average versus the Sabres this season, and 8-2-1 with a 2.57 GAA in 11 career starts against them. Gerber, meanwhile, is 3-4-0 with a 3.68 GAA in seven starts against Buffalo.

Ottawa, which hasn't won six straight since Nov. 17-29, 2005, hosts the Sabres on Saturday to conclude the home-and-home set and the season series between the clubs.

Buffalo is also on a roll, going 7-1-1 following its season high-tying three-game losing streak. The Sabres are 7-0-1 in their last eight home contests, including a 6-3 victory over last-place Philadelphia on Tuesday.

"Every point is important," defenseman Brian Campbell said.

The Sabres, already missing five players due to injuries, lost rookie left wing Daniel Paille for a few weeks after he suffered a broken left index finger.

"I'm trying to see the positive," Sabres center Daniel Briere said, "but it's kind of ridiculous."

Briere had a goal and two assists to extend his goal-scoring streak to four games. He has nine goals in his last nine contests overall, but has failed to register a point in his past four appearances against Ottawa.

Senators right wing Dany Heatley, who has two goals and four assists in his last five games, had a hat trick against Buffalo on Jan. 3 to give him five goals and seven assists in the series this season.

The Sabres have scored three power-play goals in each of their last two games, while the Senators have allowed three goals in six short-handed situations in their past two contests.