Senators-Sabres Preview

The Associated Press

The Ottawa Senators haven't been winning consistently of late, but a home-and-home series against the scuffling Buffalo Sabres might help them generate some momentum.

The Senators will try to earn back-to-back victories for the first time in a month by adding to their recent success against the Sabres on Tuesday night.

Ottawa (12-14-5) earned just its fourth win in the last 12 games Monday with its first shootout victory in five tries this season. Jason Spezza was the only player to score in the extra session - the team's only conversion in 13 shootout attempts - in a 5-4 victory against Philadelphia, and Clarke MacArthur had a pair of goals in regulation.

"It's about time," goaltender Craig Anderson said. "I think we've been in this situation a few times and haven't been on the right side of that. "We find a way to get two points, and that's really all that mattered. You've got to be excited about two points."

MacArthur has eight goals and five assists in his last 11 games and will try to keep rolling in a matchup against one of his former teams. The winger played his first three-plus seasons in Buffalo, contributing to a 2006-07 squad that won the Presidents' Trophy before losing to Ottawa in the Eastern Conference finals.

"He has probably been our most consistent guy all year," Spezza said of MacArthur. "Even at the start of the year when he wasn't scoring, you just knew it was a matter of time. Now that he is, he's driving us offensively and doing a lot of great things. ... He's been a heck of a pickup."

Those days probably seem like a distant memory for the Sabres (6-22-2), whose 14 points are easily the NHL's fewest. Buffalo is 1-7-1 in its last nine after a 3-2 loss in Montreal on Saturday and is 3-12-1 at home.

Ottawa has won four of five in Buffalo and is 7-1-1 in the last nine overall matchups. The Senators handed the Sabres their first home loss of the season, 1-0 on Oct. 4, with Craig Anderson making 35 saves and defenseman Erik Karlsson scoring with 1:35 remaining.

The Senators put up 46 shots in that game - tied for their most in regulation this season - including 23 in the opening period. Another such effort might help Ottawa post consecutive victories for the first time since claiming a season-high three straight wins Nov. 5-9.

The Sabres will likely have a new top line as they try to deny the Senators that win streak. Coach Ted Nolan put Cody Hodgson, Matt Moulson and Drew Stafford in three different pairings in Monday's practice.

Moulson could remain on the top line, but with Tyler Ennis at center and rookie Zemgus Girgensons at the other wing.

"Our top line was having a little trouble, maybe the chemistry wasn't quite right so we talked to them and we decided that instead of having one (scoring line), we would try to have three," Nolan said. "We're going to have to turn this around together. It's not going to be one or two individuals. It's going to have to be a collective response."

Karlsson has had few problems scoring in recent matchups against Buffalo with six goals and an assist in the last six. Kyle Turris has two goals and four assists in his past five games against the Sabres.

The Senators will host Buffalo on Thursday night.

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