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Senators score three third-period goals, beat Sabres again

Nov 19, 2006 - 2:55 AM
OTTAWA (Ticker) -- The mighty Buffalo Sabres continue to look rather ordinary against the Ottawa Senators.

Dany Heatley, Antoine Vermette and defenseman Chris Phillips scored third-period goals as the Senators captured a 4-1 victory over the Sabres for their second win over the Eastern Conference's best team this week.

Maxim Afinogenov opened the scoring for Buffalo with one second left in the first period. But that turned out to be all of the offense for the Sabres, who still have won five of their last seven games and 16 of 20 this season.

"We've got to be careful not to get too lax during our next 20 games," Sabres captain Daniel Briere said. "We're not playing as well as we did early in the season. Overall, we're pretty happy to have 33 points after the first 20 games."

However, two of Buffalo's defeats have come at the hands of Ottawa, the same team the Sabres upset in last season's Eastern Conference semifinals. The Senators posted a 4-2 triumph over their Northeast Division rival on Wednesday and played a strong game again Saturday night.

"I wouldn't say we're concerned we can't beat Ottawa," Sabres defenseman Brian Campbell said. "We beat them once this year, now we've lost two. It happens."

Heatley snapped a 1-1 tie at 1:22 of the third period with his 11th goal of the season. Jason Spezza dug out the puck from the left corner and whipped a pass right onto Heatley's stick at the right doorstep on a play goaltender Ryan Miller had no chance on.

"(It was a) great pass by Spezza and actually, the whole line has been getting better lately," Heatley said. "Spezza definitely made a spectacular play. You have to respect anybody at any time in this league. We really respect Buffalo, especially since their big start."

Vermette made it 3-1 on a scramble in front with 5:10 remaining and Phillips iced the victory with his breakaway goal with 2:43 to play.

"Hopefully it won't be 50 games before I get the next (goal)," Phillips joked. "Both (of my goals this season) have come against Buffalo, so I should be checking out the schedule for the next one."

Ray Emery made 23 saves, turning aside all nine shots he faced in the third period, as the Senators won for just the second time in five games.

"It was a good team effort with (Emery) playing great in goal," Spezza said. "The power play (has) been better. The whole team (is) playing better and that definitely helps. (Emery) has been rock solid for us all year. It's great to beat them two games in a row after they've been playing good hockey to start the season."

Miller knocked away 37 shots for the Sabres in his first game since November 4. He missed the last six contests with an abdominal strain.

"We got back on our heels a bit," Miller said. "We'll have to look inward on that. Definitely, we have to be better than that."

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