Some incredible goal tending by Jhonas Enroth and a late rally were not enough to overcome the Senators, as the Sabres were downed 3-2 in Ottawa.
The Sabres came into tonight’s game with a couple of notable lineup changes. Marcus Foligno and Linus Omark would be healthy scratches while Ville Leino and Matt D’Agostini would once again find themselves in the lineup.
Jhonas Enroth would start in net for the Buffalo Sabres, with Craig Anderson staring him down from the other end of the ice.
Despite having power play chances, neither team was able to find the back of the net after the first period. Ottawa led the Sabres in shots, 11 to 7, after one.
Ottawa would break the scoreless tie just 3 minutes into the second period. Erik Karlsson fired a laser from the short side face-off circle and beat Enroth over the glove, popping his water bottle in the process.
The Sabres were unable to capitalize on any of their chances, however they generated offense and controlled the puck more than in the first period. With a little brilliance in net by Jhonas Enroth, Buffalo was able to head into the second intermission only down by a goal. After two Ottawa still lead in shots, 24 to Buffalo’s 20.
Just 10 seconds into the third is all it would take for Milan Michalek to extend the Ottawa lead to 2-0. After an Ottawa face-off win the puck was shot off the near boards and landed on the stick of Jason Spezza who made no mistake in feeding the puck to Michalek who was crashing the net for the easy tap in.
The Sabres would have a bit of hope midway through the third as Tyler Ennis would go bar down on Craig Anderson off of a failed wrap-around attempt by Drew Stafford. Stafford and Leino were credited with the assists on the goal.
Minutes later Buffalo would tie the game at two. Christian Ehrhoff rocketed a shot from the left point which left a juicy rebound right on Stafford’s stick. Stafford reached out and tucked the puck past Anderson on the far side of the net.
The Sabres applied great pressure until an unfortunate defensive breakdown with under 30 seconds to go found them once again trailing by 1. A nifty tic-tac-toe move from Chris Neil and Jason Spezza found Milan Michalek in the slot next to a falling-down McBain. Michalek made no mistake and rifled the puck past the blocker of Jhonas Enroth. Despite the Sabres getting a few shots off near the end and a mad scramble in front of Anderson, they were unable to tie the game. The final score was Ottawa 3, Buffalo 2.
The story of the night would once again be the miraculous play of Jhonas Enroth going unrewarded due to the failure to convert on the power play. Matt Moulson’s absence was definitely felt as the already struggling power play was unable to convert on 7 opportunities tonight, including a short 5 on 3 stint in the third period.
Buffalo and the rest of the National Hockey League will be off for the next two weeks as athletes participate in the Olympic games. Ryan Miller, Jhonas Enroth, Henrik Tallinder, and Zemgus Girgensons will all be suiting up for their countries. Interim Head Coach Ted Nolan will be joining Zemgus Girgensons as he will be behind the bench for Team Latvia.
The Sabres will be back in action on February 25th as the Sabres play host to the Hurricanes for a 7:00 p.m. puck drop.