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Sabres try to continue dominance of Sens

Special team mistakes cost the Sabres last time out, but miscues have been far and few as of late when facing the Senators.

Buffalo aims to beat Ottawa for a seventh straight time and send its division rival to a fourth setback in a row overall as the two clubs clash tonight at First Niagara Center.

The Sabres will play the fourth of a five-game homestand this evening and are 1-1-1 on the residency thus far. That regulation loss came last time out on Saturday versus the Rangers, a 4-1 decision that saw New York score a pair of short-handed goals against Buffalo's seventh-ranked penalty kill unit.

Thomas Vanek, who scored his team-leading 14th goal in the loss, said the short-handed goals cost the Sabres the win.

"When we get in trouble is when we hold on to [the puck] and kind of look for the pretty plays instead of making the quick plays, getting pucks to the net and just taking charge. I think that's what happened tonight," said Vanek.

Head coach Lindy Ruff, though, liked the way his team looked at times versus the Rangers.

"I thought we had more energy and skated a lot better," he said. "We made a couple more mistakes, but we didn't spend a lot of time in our own end."

Jhonas Enroth made 29 saves for the Sabres, who recorded a 5-1 home victory over the Senators when the clubs met on Nov. 11 for the second time this season. Enroth made 36 saves in that game, while Derek Roy, an Ottawa native, had a goal and two assists.

The victory was the Sabres' eighth in their last nine versus the Senators and third in a row at home in the series.

Ottawa looks to rebound tonight after Saturday's 4-1 defeat to visiting Vancouver. Colin Greening scored the Senators' only goal and it came with his club already down three goals.

"It was a tough game out there tonight and we just didn't get the result we wanted," said netminder Craig Anderson, who made 24 saves.

Ottawa has dropped five of its last six and another defeat in this game would give the club its longest slide since a season-high five-game drought from Nov. 1-11.

The Sens have also lost five of their last six on the road, but head coach Paul MacLean said after the Canucks game his team is close to turning things around.

"You're always concerned when you don't win," said MacLean. "The way we did it tonight, I thought for the most part we continued to play and play hard against a real good team. We played them physical, but there are still areas of our game that have to get better."

Ottawa's Filip Kuba missed his sixth game in a row with an upper-body ailment, while fellow defenseman Sergei Gonchar sat out with an upper-body injury and is day-to-day.

Buffalo's Nathan Gerbe is doubtful to play in this game due to a concussion, while Jochen Hecht (lower body) and Corey Tropp (upper body) are questionable.