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Buffalo at Ottawa

Vanek puts on show, scores four goals as Sabres drop Senators

CBSSports.com wire reports
  •  

OTTAWA -- Even a loss for playoff-bound Ottawa couldn't spoil the special day for Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson.

Thomas Vanek scored four goals and the Buffalo Sabres snapped a nine-game losing streak to Ottawa with a 5-2 win Saturday.

Eastern Conference
SeedTeamGPPTSROW
1z-Pittsburgh487233
2y-Montreal486326
3y-Washington485724
4x-Boston486224
5x-Toronto485726
6x-N.Y. Rangers485622
7x-Ottawa485621
8x-N.Y. Islanders485520
Eliminated
9o-Winnipeg485122
10o-Philadelphia484922
11o-New Jersey484817
12o-Buffalo484814
13o-Carolina484218
14o-Tampa Bay484017
15o-Florida483612
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"As much as it [is disappointing] to lose, there are a lot of good things that came out of this day," Senators forward Jason Spezza said. "It was a pretty special night for Alfie and for everybody to be a part of. We were happy to see him get the recognition he got."

The Sabres dampened the celebration for Alfredsson, who recently played his 1,000th NHL game. Vanek stole the show in his first game after sitting out six due to a lower body injury.

"It was a great ceremony, but I was going to go out and give him the key to Stockholm so he'd go back," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff joked.

Alfredsson, who played in game No. 1,002 on Saturday, became the 44th NHL player to appear in 1,000 games with one franchise. There was a 25-minute pregame ceremony for Ottawa's favorite Swede.

"It was classy by Buffalo to come out to the bench and be part of the ceremony," said Alfredsson, who admitted to being a little nervous during his speech to 20,500 fans at Scotiabank Place.

"It's not something we do every day -- speak in front of a lot of people -- and I kind of lost my train of thought a couple of times when they started chanting my name. All in all, it was a great night and something I'll take with me forever."

Derek Roy also scored for the Sabres, and Ryan Miller made 28 saves for his 41st win. Buffalo will play at New Jersey on Sunday with a chance to claim the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

"It was a good game for us overall and it's nice for me to be back and capitalize on my opportunities," Vanek said. "We haven't won in this building in a long time, so this feels great."

Chris Neil and Shean Donovan scored and Pascal Leclaire made 23 saves for the Senators, who will be the fifth-seeded team in the East and face the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round of the playoffs.

"It's going to be a tough challenge but definitely not impossible," said Alfredsson. "They have a lot of experience, but the biggest thing is going to be discipline and staying out of the penalty box as much as we can."

Roy gave the Sabres a 5-1 lead at 10:16 of the third period when he backhanded in a shot from the slot.

With less than seven minutes left, Donovan picked up a rebound and put a backhander past Miller for the game's final goal.

"That was a good example of the way we can play. It was important for us to get this win," said Miller, who made a big save on Alfredsson in the game's opening minutes.

The Sabres led 2-0 entering the second period when Neil took a terrific behind-the-net pass from Peter Regin. The puck landed on Neil's stick for the easy tap in and the Senators' first goal of the game. Neil reached the 10-goal mark for the third time.

Vanek responded by scoring two more before the end of the period. His first came at 8:57, a little more than a minute after Neil scored, on a penalty shot. After being slashed by Senators defenseman Andy Sutton on a breakaway, Vanek was awarded the shot and beat Leclaire on the backhand.

Four minutes later on a Sabres power play, Vanek batted a puck out of the air past Leclaire for a 4-1 Sabres lead.

The Sabres' sniper also scored the only two goals of the first period. He beat Leclaire at 9:14 on a rebound and at 12:32 when he redirected Derek Roy's pass into the top corner.

Notes

  • Before the game, Alfredsson was presented with a custom painting by artist Tony Harris from the Senators organization, a silver puck from Senators owner Eugene Melnyk, and a silver stick from his teammates. He was also awarded two crystal awards from the NHL commemorating his 1,000th game and 600th assist.
  • Alfredsson has scored 20 or more goals in 10 straight seasons.
  • Alfredsson scored the first playoff goal in Senators history in 1997 against the Sabres.
  • The Sabres are the only NHL team unbeaten this season when leading after two periods (30-0-0).
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Thomas Vanek makes this penalty shot for his third goal of the night. (Getty Images)
Thomas Vanek makes this penalty shot for his third goal of the night. (Getty Images)

Scoreboard
Buffalo  (45-26-10) «2215
Ottawa (44-32-6)0112
Three Stars
T. Vanek
BUF


Goals: 4
Assist(s): 0
D. Roy
BUF


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 2
D. Alfredsson
OTT


Goals: 0
Assist(s): 0
Scoring Summary
1ST PERIOD
09:14Thomas Vanek (24), Tip-In. Assist: Mair, Ellis
12:38Thomas Vanek (25), Tip-In. Assist: Roy, Sekera
2ND PERIOD
07:43Chris Neil (10), Slap Shot. Assist: Regin, Phillips
08:57Thomas Vanek (26), Penalty Shot, Unassisted.
13:12Power Play - Thomas Vanek (27), Tip-In. Assist: Roy, Ennis
3RD PERIOD
10:16Derek Roy (26), Slap Shot. Assist: Gerbe, Myers
13:20Shean Donovan (2), Backhand Shot. Assist: Smith, Phillips
Penalty Summary
1ST PERIOD
01:32Neil, 2 min, Hooking
02:35Torres, 2 min, Interference
14:05Pominville, 2 min, Tripping
15:56Regin, 2 min, Holding the Stick
2ND PERIOD
03:29Vanek, 4 min, High-Sticking
09:44Kennedy, 2 min, Slashing
11:57Ruutu, 2 min, Boarding
11:57Mair, 2 min, Roughing
11:57Ruutu, 2 min, Roughing
15:06Fisher, 2 min, Tripping
3RD PERIOD
38.0Gaustad, 2 min, Boarding
38.0Ruutu, 2 min, Roughing
38.0Gaustad, 2 min, Slashing
08:09Neil, 2 min, Slashing
Shots On Goal
 123T
Buffalo138728
Ottawa912930
Goalies
GoalieMINSSGA
Ryan Miller60:00282
Pascal Leclaire59:48235
Game Information
Attendance - 20500
Referees - Eric Furlatt, Dean Morton
Linesmen - Scott Driscoll, David Brisebois
 
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