Final

Series (Game 4 of 8)

Ottawa leads 5-3

Game 1: Saturday, October 7th
Sabres4Final
Senators3
Game 2: Wednesday, November 15th
Senators4Final
Sabres2
Game 3: Saturday, November 18th
Sabres1Final
Senators4
Game 4: Saturday, December 16th
Senators3Final
Sabres1
Game 5: Wednesday, January 3rd
Sabres3Final
Senators6
Game 6: Wednesday, February 7th
Senators2Final
Sabres3
Game 7: Thursday, February 22nd
Senators5Final
SO
Sabres6
Game 8: Saturday, February 24th
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Senators6

Senators 3

(17-16-1, 35 pts)

Sabres 1

(24-6-2, 50 pts)

7:00 PM ET, December 16, 2006

First Niagara Center, Buffalo, New York

1 2 3 T
OTT 2 0 13
BUF 0 1 01

J. Spezza (Senators - C): Goals: 2, Assists: 1

R. Emery (Senators - G): Saves: 35, Save Pct.: .972

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

Spezza helps Senators beat Sabres for third time this year

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) -- Jason Spezza and Ray Emery will not admit that the Ottawa Senators have solved the Buffalo Sabres. It sure seems as if they have.

Spezza scored two power-play goals and added an assist, while Emery made 35 saves in Ottawa's 3-1 victory over the Sabres on Saturday night. The Senators have handed the Buffalo three of its six regulation losses this season.

"I wouldn't say we've solved them," Spezza said. "We definitely get up for these guys. They beat us last year in the playoffs, and we're developing a bit of a rivalry."

Emery chuckled when a reporter mentioned the playoffs as incentive for the quality of his play against Buffalo.

"I think I owe them a bit for last year," said Emery, who allowed 15 goals in four playoff losses against the Sabres in May. "If you're not up to play these guys, they'll come back to bite you."

Dany Heatley had a goal and assist for Ottawa, which rebounded from a 6-0 loss at Nashville on Thursday. Jochen Hecht scored for Buffalo, which had its winning streak snapped at three. Sabres goalie Ryan Miller, who lost for the second time in his last eight decisions, made 26 saves.

"I don't like to lose to them," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. "It gives them confidence. It's something we have to rectify as a team."

Buffalo still leads the league in goal-scoring, but has been held to three goals in its last two games. They have gone five games without scoring more than three, but opponents do not believe the Sabres are in a tailspin.

"They're still fast and flying around," Emery said. "All teams go through spells. I'm sure with the guys they've got, they'll bounce back."

"They've been going at such a high clip," Senators coach Bryan Murray said. "They're due for games where maybe the other team will outwork them. I thought we did for the most part."

Heatley opened the scoring at the 5:42 mark of the first period, swiping in a puck that was already going into the net. Andrej Meszaros took a shot from the point and it was tipped by Buffalo's Thomas Vanek before going through Miller's legs. The puck was creeping toward the goal line when Heatley tapped it for his team-high 19th goal of the season.

Spezza made it 2-0 with a power-play goal with 2:31 remaining in the opening period. He was stationed on the left side of the slot and completed a tic-tac-toe play that Heatley began from behind the Buffalo net.

In the second period, Hecht reduced the lead to 2-1 on a power-play goal with just under six minutes remaining. Brian Campbell fired a shot from just inside the blue line, and Hecht tipped it while in the slot.

Spezza netted his second of the night, raising his season total to 19, when he lifted a shot over a prone Miller after Andrew Vermette fed a drop pass from the slot.

Spezza had an opportunity for a hat trick, but missed a penalty shot with 12:50 remaining.

The Sabres had one power play chance while trailing 3-1, but mustered only one shot on Emery.

"They were ready and took advantage of the chances we handed them," Hecht said. "We couldn't bear down on ours."

Game notes


Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson returned to the lineup after missing five games with a hip injury. F Peter Schaefer also came back from an eye infection which sidelined him for one game. D Wade Redden was out for an eighth game with a chest injury. ... Buffalo was 1-of-6 on the power play, but have converted only 5 of their last 56 opportunities. Ottawa scored twice in four chances. ... Spezza has a point in 11 of 12 games. ... Heatley broke a five-game streak without a goal, matching his season long streak. He has not gone six games without a goal since 2001-02, his rookie season.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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