Sabres blow early lead, fall to Senators

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Despite goals from Philip Varone and Tyler Ennis the Buffalo Sabres were unable to stave off the Ottawa Senators 3-2 inside the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa.

The Senators scored three straight goals between the second and third periods to earn the comeback victory and grow within three points of the Boston Bruins for the second wild card slot in the Eastern Conference.

In the first period Varone was able to outskate defensemen Erik Karlsson and Marc Methot and chase down a bouncing puck from Matt Moulson. Varone was able to knock the puck off the bounce and passed goaltender Andrew Hammond.

With 3:28 remaining in the first period, Varone found Ennis with a no-look pass at the top of faceoff circle. Ennis carried the puck to the dot and slotted it nearside on a stunned Hammond. The goal is Ennis’ 16th of the season while Varone earned his first assist on the campaign, with secondary assist to newcomer Zach Bogosian.

26 seconds into the second period, Karlsson received a deflected puck at the point and flung it back towards Anders Lindback. The original direction of the shot was wide of Lindback’s net, but it took an errant deflection off of Bogosian and behind Lindback.

The second period ended with the lone Senators goal, but they continued 1:34 into the third period Mika Zibanejad found the back of the net from a pass by Bobby Ryan. Zibanejad was slotted in front of the net as Ryan fed a pass into the slot and it was put passed Lindback.

1:34 later after the second Senators goal, Ottawa’s Methot carried the puck behind the Buffalo cage and was able to beat Lindback to the far post on the wraparound and put his team ahead 3-2. Buffalo was unable to draw even over the final 16 minutes of the third period, only mustering 10 shots.

Buffalo was outshot 37-26 on the evening but had four more blocked shots than its opposition. Despite allowing three goals, Lindback posted a .919 save percentage with 34 saves on 37 shots faced. Hammond stopped 24-of-26 to earn his seventh win on the season in eight appearances.

Buffalo travels to Washington on Saturday evening with a 7 p.m. faceoff against the Washington Capitals.

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