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Team's shootout success halted by Senators

The Buffalo Sabres were thrilled to wipe out a two-goal deficit in the third period and get a point Saturday in Ottawa. But they were disappointed they didn't capitalize on a chance for a bonus point in the shootout, as their four-game winning streak in the penalty shot parade came to an end.

The defeat was particularly frustrating for goaltender Ryan Miller, who had allowed just five goals in 25 shootout attempts this season. But the Senators used some dekes to beat him three out of four times.

Miller stopped Jason Spezza to open the shootout but gave up goals to the final three Ottawa shooters: Jarkko Ruutu, Daniel Alfredsson and Mike Fisher.

"That was disappointing because I've been pretty good on it most of the year," Miller said. "But for whatever reason, I just couldn't get set on the puck. I misread some guys. They did a few different things I didn't expect. I guess if it comes up again with them, I'll know a couple more moves of theirs."

Saturday's loss dropped Buffalo's shootout record this year to 6-3. The Sabres, and Miller in particular, have been much better in shootouts this season. Miller was only 4-7 last year, stopping just 19 of 33 attempts against him, and the team struggled to a 4-9 mark that was one of the major reasons it missed the playoffs.

Sabres winger Ales Kotalik continued his shootout mastery Saturday, using his patented backhand move to score on their first attempt and improve to 6 for 8 this season. He's 18 for 34 in his career, with the 18 goals third on the all-time list behind Atlanta's Vyacheslav Kozlov and Jussi Jokinen (who was acquired Saturday by Carolina from Tampa Bay). They both have 20.

Kotalik and Kozlov are the all-time leaders in game-deciding shootout goals with 10.

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* Tim Connolly update: Buffalo's hottest forward has 20 points in 20 games this season (11 goals, nine assists). He has 10 points (6-4) in his last seven games.

* Drew Stafford's third-period goal Saturday was his 99th career point. Meanwhile, Derek Roy is sitting on 99 career goals and will become the 28th Sabre to reach 100 when he scores his next one.

* In its final game before the trip to Buffalo, Portland posted a 3-2 win Sunday at Hershey as defenseman Mike Kostka got the winning goal in the second period. Nathan Gerbe played his second straight game for the Pirates after returning Saturday following a concussion.

* In the hour before faceoff Saturday night, the Sabres Edge blog at buffalonews.com went over 2 million page views since its inception in March, 2007. It's the most viewed of the site's 24 blogs.

e-mail: mharrington@buffnews.com

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