The Buffalo Sabres came into today’s game with rest well in hand, something they haven’t experienced all season.
When the game began, the rest was evident.
Buffalo began the period by putting a stranglehold on the game’s momentum, even on the penalty kill.
The new line of Leino/Ennis/Ott was firing out of the gate, and they would make their presence known quick.
At 8:52 in the first, a pretty pass from Leino to Weber at the point would result in the game’s first goal. This marked Weber’s first goal in 50 games, and Leino’s first point of the season.
Buffalo would continue to keep their foot on the gas pedal.
Seven minutes later, at 15:16, Drew Stafford would find himself in the right place at the right time.
The puck was at Stafford’s feet, and Stafford was directly in front of Senators goaltender Ben Bishop.
Stafford would poke the puck in for his third goal of the season.
Heading into the second period, the Sabres led the Senators, 2-0, looking to further take a hold of this game.
The Sabres momentum would come to a quick halt.
“We had a good first period,” said Jason Pominville. “We just got too casual after that.”
Buffalo began the period playing very slow, uninspired hockey. They were unable to get out of their own zone for most of the period.
Only 4:03 into the first period, a Sabres turnover led to the Senators first goal from Patrick Wiercioch, his 4th of the season.
Six minutes later, more bad zone play for the Sabres would lead to the second Ottawa goal. This one was credited to Chris Phillips, his 4th of the season, at 10:14.
At that point of the second period, Buffalo was being horribly out shot 12-2.
As the period continued, the Sabres struggled to get any offensive zone pressure and found themselves getting trapped in their own zone still.
With a touch under two minutes remaining, a net-driving Kyle Turris caught Ryan Miller out of place. Turris would wrap his stick around the left side of the Sabres goal to give the Senators a 3-2 lead. On replay, the puck appeared to be guided in by Miller’s right skate blade.
The Sabres entered the third trailing and when the period began, urgency did not seem to be their top priority.
Throughout the first 12 minutes, that would actually be the case until Drew Stafford’s hard work led to a perfect opportunity.
Stafford skated up the far boards, towards the blue line, when he turned and fired a shot. The shot seemed to knuckle a little, but got passed Ben Bishop. This was Stafford’s second goal of the game, marking the first time since March 27, 2012 that Stafford scored two goals in one game.
The Sabres would continue to apply pressure throughout the remaining eight minutes of the third, but they would not be able to get themselves ahead.
When overtime began, the Sabres seemed as if they were building off pressure they had from the third period, until Christian Ehrhoff was called for intereference at 2:16.
One minute and thirty-eight seconds into the power play, Kyle Turris would score the game-winning goal.
“I’m just going to have to tip my hat to Turris,” said Ryan Miller. “I thought I was there. Straight up, bad angle, over my shoulder next to my ear.”
Following the game, head coach Ron Rolston had some strong words about the team’s performance.
“The first period was one of the best periods we’ve played,” said Rolston. “The second was one of the worst because we appeared to get comfortable and didnt get our feet moving. We can’t afford to be comfortable as a team now.”
This overtime loss drops the Sabres to 10-14-4 with 24 points.
The Sabres will take the ice again tomorrow night at 7 PM in Washington against the Capitals. That game will be broadcast on MSG.