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Associated Press
2/7/2007 10:03:51 PM


BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - Thomas Vanek scored twice, including the game-winner with four minutes left, to lift the Buffalo Sabres to a 3-2 win over the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday night.

Maxim Afinogenov also scored in helping the Sabres successfully open a season-high six-game homestand and end a four-game losing streak against their Northeast Division rivals. Backup goalie Martin Biron was sharp in making 28 saves.

Peter Schaefer and Dean McCammond scored for Ottawa, which dropped to 8-3-1 in its past 12.

The Sabres, who twice squandered one-goal leads, won despite playing on consecutive nights after a 4-3 shootout win at Atlanta. And they defeated a well-rested opponent - the Senators had been off since a 3-2 shootout loss against Toronto on Saturday.

Vanek's second goal came on the power play and during a wild scramble in front. Vanek's first shot from the slot - and with goalie Ray Emery out of position - was stopped by diving defenceman Anton Volchenkov. The puck caromed to the left circle, where Ales Kotalik fanned on his attempt, but the shot slid to the right post and Vanek slipped it into the open side.

The goal made up for a questionable penalty call that went against the Sabres earlier in the period, and led to Schaefer's goal, which tied the score at two.

Schaefer scored during a scramble, when he converted Mike Fisher's rebound.

The goal came on a Senators power play, when officials incorrectly penalized Teppo Numminen for delay of game after the Buffalo defenceman's clearing attempt went over the glass. Replays showed Numminen's backhander first hit the boards - which should have negated the penalty - before going out of play.

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