Ottawa (18-15-4) at Buffalo (22-11-3)
The last meeting between these two teams resulted in a 5-3 win for Ottawa back on November 21st. However, several Sabres were suffering from food poisoning that night. A few nights later, when the Minnesota Wild came to visit, their players found that their equipment was set on fire. The Senators have won six straight games against Buffalo, and five out of the last six in Buffalo.
It took Buffalo over 17 minutes to record their first shot of the game, and that one sh0t was all they ended up with after the first period. Ottawa, on the other hand, fired 19 shots on Ryan Miller, who stopped them all.
Paul Gaustad leveled Jarkko Ruutu, who injured Patrick Kaleta in the previous meeting between these teams.
Buffalo came out much stronger in the second period, but Ottawa scored the first goal of the game. On a shot that didn’t look like a scoring chance, the Senators took the lead. Ryan Shannon passed the puck in front of the net and had it bounce off of a Sabres defenseman, and Ottawa took a 1-0 lead.
A minute later, Chris Neil scored his fifth of the season to put the Senators up 2-0. Two Ottawa goals on three shots to begin the second period had Buffalo playing from behind for the rest of the night…..or did it?
Thomas Vanek made his presence known in his return from injury. Vanek took a pass from Mike Grier and put Buffalo on the board with under three to go in the second period. In the final minute of the period, Jason Pominville took a one timer and blasted it by Pascal Leclaire to tie the game on the power play.
Shots were 14-10 in favor of Buffalo in the second period, allowing them to get back into the game.
Both teams had a power play opportunity in the third and a chance to take a 3-2 lead. Buffalo failed on their chance as they could not manage a shot. On Toni Lydman’s penalty, the Senators couldn’t capitalize either. Ottawa would get another power play chance with three minutes remaining in the third period, but they could not get the puck past Miller.
In the shootout, both Alex Kovalev and Mike Fisher were able to beat Miller. On the other side, Vanek and Connolly were unable to score, giving Ottawa the 3-2 victory
Buffalo was outshot 40-22 on the night.
The Sabres will head to St. Louis to take on the Blues on Sunday.