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NHL: Buffalo 4, Ottawa 2

BUFFALO, N.Y., Feb. 25 (UPI) -- Mike Grier and Cody McCormick gave Buffalo a two-goal lead midway through the contest Friday and Buffalo held on to defeat Ottawa 4-2.

The Sabres have won back-to-back games following three losses in a row and they remained three points behind Carolina for the Eastern Conference's last playoff berth.

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Grier scored the only first-period goal and McCormick put a slap shot past Craig Anderson 9:45 into the second.

Ottawa twice closed to within a goal, the last time when Milan Michalek scored with 1:55 to play in regulation. Thomas Vanek clinched the win by scoring into an empty net with 32 seconds remaining.

Ryan Miller made 29 saves to get the victory.

Anderson, who stopped 35 shots, suffered his first loss since he came to Ottawa from Colorado in a Feb. 19 trade. The Senators had won their previous two games.

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