The Buffalo Sabres needed a win against the Ottawa Senators coming into a Tuesday night showdown at First Niagara Center. They didn’t get it as they fell in overtime to the Sens 3-2. Paul Szczechura and Tyler Ennis scored for Buffalo while Milan Michalek, Peter Regin and Jared Cowen scored for Ottawa. Buffalo is now 2-1 in the season series against the Senators with three games left to play.
Buffalo came out slow and it cost them early. A defensive breakdown allowed a number of chances in front. Andrej Sekera slide to take away a sure goal but Buffalo never got the puck out of the clear and Milan Michalek connected on his league leading 19th goal of the year. Jason Spezza was credited with the lone assist on the play.
Cody McCormick and Zenon Konopka had a spirited scrap a few minutes later. Both players are regarded as brawlers and they did their jobs. While few punches connected McCormick did get in at least one big uppercut which popped the helmet off of Konopka’s head.
The Sabres finally got on the board when Paul Szczechura pounced on an Ottawa turnover and juked out Craig Anderson then fired it top shelf for his first goal as a Buffalo Sabre. Szczechura caused the initial turnover and Jason Pominville knocked into the skates of Chris Phillips where Szczechura grabbed it and did the rest.
Buffalo struck again in short order when Tyler Ennis converted a pretty passing play with Derek Roy and Drew Stafford. Ennis received a pass in the clear in front of the net and outwaited Anderson for his second of the season. The play started when Roy stole the puck from Brian Lee and found Stafford in the clear who fed the puck to Ennis.
The second period was relatively uneventful. Both teams traded chances and both Anderson and Ryan Miller showed off their abilities with great saves to keep the score close. Buffalo seemed to have more jump in the second and fired 11 shots on net compared to Ottawa’s 16 shots.
In the third period the action was mostly a defensive one for Buffalo. Ottawa made them pay with a goal at the 8:30 mark. Peter Regin took a shot from the point and it deflected in front up and over the glove of Miller. Brian Lee had the only assist on the play.
Buffalo is very serious about not letting anyone run Ryan Miller. Christian Ehrhoff threw bombs at Colin Greening because he bumped Miller after regulation ended. Ehrhoff has very few fights to his credit but he handled himself well and established himself as a great teammate and leader.
Buffalo let Ottawa hang around too long and the Senators finished the Sabres off in overtime. Ottawa’s rookie defenseman Jared Cowen crept in from the point and poked in a rebound to cap off the comeback.
Ryan Miller finished the game with 41 saves, Anderson stopped 27. Buffalo’s powerplay was still anemic finishing 0-2. Buffalo returns to action Friday, December 16th at 7:30 PM eastern against the Toronto Maple Leafs at First Niagara Center in Buffalo.
Notes: Buffalo dressed seven defenseman due to the return of Mike Weber… Matt Ellis was the healthy scratch…Paul Gaustad also returned for the Sabres.