Lehner, Sabres defeat Senators


In the first meeting of the season between the Ottawa Senators and Buffalo Sabres at the KeyBank Center in Buffalo, each team came into it desperate for a victory.

Coming off tough road losses in overtime against the Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues, a good showing back on home ice was necessary for Buffalo to gain some momentum. That is exactly what the Sabres and their fans got, with a 3-2 win tonight despite a late goal to make it close.

“Tonight we saw a total team effort. It’s a step in the right direction and now we need to keep building on that.” – Rasmus Ristolainen

Evan Rodrigues, who has been on a hot streak with three points (two goals and an assist) in his last two games, suffered an injury and was helped off the ice, but did return to the game. After the way the Sabres struggled in the first, it was difficult to predict what happened in the following period.

Approximately five minutes into the second, Benoit Pouliot scored his eighth of the year to give the Sabres the 1-0 lead, only for Kyle Okposo to tally his fifth just over a minute later.

The scoring didn’t stop there as Evander Kane netted his team-leading 14th goal to put the Sabres up 3-0 with seven and a half to go in the second. Assisted by Ristolainen and Eichel on the power play, it would be the final goal of the period, and was perhaps their best period of the entire season.

“We had some big hits, some big goals, some big penalty kills, the fans are starving for a winner here, we’re trying to do it” -Okposo

Ristolainen, after starting slow this season, earned two assists on goals from Pouliot and Kane in this one to increase his total to nine on the year.

Robin Lehner, who struggled mightily early in the season and dealt with inconsistencies in his play, has seen a resurgence as of late, posting strong performances his last four games.

Although Ottawa ended his shutout performance with 13 minutes remaining from a goal by Cody Ceci, and another in the final minutes, it was a sign of what he can bring to the team on a nightly basis when playing his best, finishing the night with 24 saves between the pipes. 

Despite holding a slight 26-25 advantage in shots on goal for the Senators, the Sabres play on special teams was crucial, finishing one-for-two on the power play and also held the Senators without a goal on three attempts with the man advantage throughout the game.

After a road trip in which the Sabres earned four points in three games, they continued the trend by earning a big win over one of their division rivals.

Winning this one gives them their eighth victory of the year and much needed momentum heading to Philadelphia, where they will face the Flyers on Thursday at the Wells Fargo Center. That game is scheduled for a 7 p.m. puck drop.



Robert Janish, Jr.
Robert Janish, Jr.
One of the most memorable Sabres games I ever attended was the line brawl against the Senators, which Buffalo won in a shootout, 6-5. I can't wait for the day when playoff hockey returns to Buffalo. I graduated with a Masters in Sport Administration, and a Bachelor's in Political Science & Communication Studies from Canisius College.
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