Sens and Sabres renew rivalry in Buffalo

A pair of Northeast Division inhabitants will renew their rivalry tonight, as the Buffalo Sabres play host to the Ottawa Senators from First Niagara Center.

Buffalo beat the Senators, 3-2, in a shootout last Saturday on the road and Derek Roy scored to put the Sabres ahead to stay. Thomas Vanek and Brad Boyes also scored during the shootout, while Roy and Jordan Leopold each lit the lamp in regulation for the Sabres, who have won five straight against Ottawa.

Friday's game is the second of six meetings between the teams. Buffalo went 5-1-0 against the Senators last season.

The Sabres made it three consecutive wins overall with a 6-5 overtime victory versus Winnipeg on Tuesday behind Vanek's power-play goal with 25 seconds remaining in the extra stanza. Roy picked up two goals and one assist, Vanek scored twice and Jason Pominville finished with a goal and two helpers.

"You don't plan nights like that. You certainly don't like to see too many of them, but it's good that we came out on the winning side," said Buffalo netminder Ryan Miller, who made 26 saves.

Sabres head coach may go with either Miller or Jhonas Enroth in Friday's game. Enroth improved to 4-0-0 with a 1.41 goals-against average this season after making 25 stops in Saturday's victory in Ottawa. He is 11-0-1 in his last 12 decisions.

Ottawa has lost four in a row since prevailing in six straight games, and will kick off a six-game road trip tonight against the Sabres, Maple Leafs, Flames, Oilers, Canucks and Penguins.

The Senators dropped a 3-2 decision versus the New York Rangers the last time out on Wednesday, when Milan Michalek and Nick Foligno scored a goal apiece and netminder Craig Anderson made 16 saves. Alex Auld could see action tonight between the pipes.

Ottawa hasn't lost five straight games since going 0-9-2 from Jan. 14-Feb. 9 of last season. Michalek owns 10 goals this season for the Sens, who sport a 2-4-0 record on the road this season.

Michalek leads the club with four road goals this season and is four points shy of 300 in his career. The Senators hope to get a boost this evening, as captain Daniel Alfredsson is expected to return to the lineup. Alfredsson has missed the last five games while dealing with the effects of a concussion suffered Oct. 29 against the Rangers.

"I'm expecting myself to be back and ready to go," he told the team's website.

Ottawa went 1-3-1 in Alfredsson's absence and could be without winger Chris Neil due to a twisted ankle. Neil is expected to miss Friday and Saturday's game, and will continue to be monitored, according to coach Paul MacLean.