Sens hoping for big effort

BRUCE GARRIOCH, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 2:54 PM ET

BUFFALO -- The Senators say they are well aware of the urgency of stringing some wins together.

If they are indeed going to close the gap and get back into the Eastern Conference playoff race, victories over division rivals matter most of all. That's why there should be extra emphasis on a game like tonight's against the Buffalo Sabres at the HSBC Arena. The Senators have five games left against Buffalo which means these points are going to be big.

"It's obviously a team we have to look at and say every time we play them that it's huge points," said coach Craig Hartsburg this morning. "We're coming off a game we thought we played pretty well and we've got to follow it up with an even better effort tonight."

They might have played well, but the Sens are still coming off a 4-3 OT loss to the New Jersey Devils Sunday. The good news is the Senators have had a measure of success against the Sabres. The club scored a 5-2 victory here on Oct. 27 and a win might give Ottawa a much-needed boost of confidence. They trail Buffalo -- the No. 8 seed in the east heading into tonight's action -- by nine points.

"They are a divisional opponent and we've played pretty good here in the past. We'd like to continue that. There's no question," said captain Daniel Alfredsson.

Defenceman Anton Volchenkov, who is believed to have a shoulder injury, won't be in the lineup. Alex Auld will make the start.

Puck drop is at 7 p.m. tonight and the game will be televised on Sportsnet.


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