(Sports Network) - The Buffalo Sabres may boast the NHL's leading scorer, but
Thomas Vanek's sizzling scoring pace has translated into precious few wins for
the struggling club.
With losses in six of their last seven games, Vanek and the Sabres will try to
get in the win column when they visit the Ottawa Senators for Tuesday's clash
at Scotiabank Place.
Vanek is the NHL's reigning First Star of the Week after posting five goals
and five assists in four games from Jan. 29-Feb. 3. The Austrian winger has
recorded a point in all eight of his games this season and he's leading the
NHL with 19 points on eight goals and 11 assists.
Although Vanek has scored five times during a three-game goal-scoring streak,
the Sabres only managed to go 1-2-0 in those contests and the club is coming
off Sunday's 4-3 loss to the visiting Florida Panthers. Former Sabres
defenseman Brian Campbell scored the deciding goal in the third period to lift
the Panthers to victory at First Niagara Center.
Vanek and Cody Hodgson each had a goal and two assists, while Alexander Sulzer
also lit the lamp. Ryan Miller made 29 saves for Buffalo, which held a 3-1
lead early in the second before allowing Florida to take control of the game.
"We had some opportunities at 3-1 to put them away," said Buffalo's Jason
Pominville. "We didn't capitalize and they went the other way on the rush
chances and they put them away."
Buffalo is 2-3-0 on the road this season, but the Sabres have posted victories
in six of their last seven trips to Ottawa. All told, the Senators have lost
nine of the last 13 meetings in this series.
Ottawa enters Tuesday's game on a two-game skid and the club managed to score
just one goal over those two losses. After getting shut out 1-0 at Carolina on
Friday, the Senators were on the wrong end of Sunday's 2-1 decision at
Montreal. Jakob Silfverberg scored the lone goal while Craig Anderson stopped
30 shots for the Senators, who have dropped four of their past six games after
a 3-0 start to the season.
Sunday's loss was surrounded by controversy as Ottawa appeared to get the
tying goal early in the third period only to see it waved off due to a
goaltender interference call against Silfverberg.
"We thought it was a good goal but the refs saw something else," Ottawa
captain Daniel Alfredsson said about the penalty. "We celebrated and then
someone told us they were waiving it off. I don't think anybody anticipated
that at all. The ref must have seen something we missed and made the call."
Ottawa hopes to rebound on Tuesday at the start of a four-game homestand,
which also features visits from Carolina and Winnipeg before the Sabres make
another stop to Canada's capital city on Feb. 12. The Senators are 3-0-1 as
the host this season.
Senators defenseman Sergei Gonchar (flu) and forward Guillaume Latendresse
(whiplash) are questionable for Tuesday. Gonchar was scratched from Sunday's
game, but was able to participate in Tuesday's morning skate and should be
ready to return from his illness. Meanwhile, Latendresse has sat out the last
two games with injury and is expected to miss his third straight contest on
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