Buffalo at Ottawa

Sabres beat Senators for third successive win to open season


OTTAWA -- The Buffalo Sabres are fine with close games, as long as they keep winning them.

Chris Drury had a goal and an assist and Daniel Briere had two assists to help Buffalo extend its season-opening winning streak to three with a 4-3 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Saturday night.

Jason Pominville, who scored the overtime winner that eliminated Ottawa from the playoffs last season, benefited from Briere's second set up of the night for his second goal of the season with 3:24 left in the third.

That put the Sabres up 4-2, restoring the two-goal lead provided by Drury's unassisted effort earlier in the period.

"They've all been close. It would be nice to run away with a game but I don't think, in a lot of cases, this league is about teams dominating other teams," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. "We got off to a good start, they had a heck of a second period, and then the third period was kept pretty close."

Buffalo won each of the three games it played in Ottawa in its five-game conference semifinal win after losing three of four at the Corel Centre during the 2005-06 regular season.

"We sure took our lumps here and at home versus these guys prior to last year," Drury said. "I wouldn't say we feel comfortable here but we're glad we can come here and have confidence playing here, and hopefully we can keep getting wins here."

Jason Spezza scored two goals for Ottawa 1:24 apart in the third, drawing the Senators within one both times, including his second goal just 10 seconds after Pominville scored.

"They've made a few changes here and there, but they're pretty much the same team," Spezza said. "I think we're going to have good games against them all year. It was a pretty fast hockey game and that's what we expected."

Martin Biron made 34 saves in his first start of the season. It was his first appearance since April 18, a 4-0 win in Carolina for his 18th career shutout in Buffalo's last regular-season game.

"It felt really good, especially after training camp, where I felt really good and felt I was moving well," said Biron, who didn't appear in any playoff games while backing up Ryan Miller. "It's hard when you don't get any action for weeks so it's good to get a big start on the road in the first week of the season."

Henrik Tallinder and Brian Campbell also scored for Buffalo, which beat Montreal 5-4 in a shootout the night before.

Drury, who assisted on Campbell's power-play goal late in the first, put Buffalo up 3-1 when he drove a slap shot past Martin Gerber for an unassisted goal 2:59 into the third.

Dean McAmmond also scored for Ottawa, which has been outscored 11-4 while dropping its first two home games, including a 6-0 loss Thursday night to Toronto in its home opener.

"I don't think it's any time to panic," Spezza said. "We know we have to be a better team, especially to start off games. We took too many penalties early on today but we know we're still a good hockey team. Wins aren't going to come too easily in this league."

Buffalo got goals from two defensemen early and late in the first period to take a 2-0 lead.

Tallinder opened the scoring 33 seconds in when he put Paul Gaustad's centering pass into a wide open left side to stake the Sabres to a quick lead.

Campbell converted Buffalo's fourth power-play opportunity of the first at 19:06.

McAmmond scored his first Ottawa goal midway through the second to draw the Senators to 2-1.


  • Senators D Tom Preissing returned to the lineup and made his home debut. Acquired on July 10 in the three-way trade that saw Ottawa send Martin Havlat and Bryan Smolinski to Chicago, Preissing missed Thursday's loss to Toronto with a bruised knee.
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Martin Gerber is beaten by a pumped-up Jason Pominville, whose goal proves to be the winner.  (AP)
Martin Gerber is beaten by a pumped-up Jason Pominville, whose goal proves to be the winner. (AP)
Buffalo  (3-0-0) «2024
Ottawa (1-2-0)0123
Three Stars
M. Biron

Saves: 34
Save Pct.: .919
J. Spezza

Goals: 2
Assist(s): 0
C. Drury

Goals: 1
Assist(s): 1

Related Video

Scoring Summary
00:33Henrik Tallinder, Wrist Shot - Assists: Paul Gaustad, Jochen Hecht
19:06Power Play - Brian Campbell, Wrist Shot - Assists: Daniel Briere, Chris Drury
11:37Dean McAmmond, Wrist Shot - Assist: Denis Hamel
02:59Chris Drury (2), Slap Shot - Unassisted.
15:22Jason Spezza, Tip-In - Assists: Dany Heatley, Daniel Alfredsson
16:36Jason Pominville (3), Tip-In - Assists: Daniel Briere, Dmitri Kalinin
16:46Jason Spezza, Snap Shot - Assists: Daniel Alfredsson, Dany Heatley
Penalty Summary
01:00Novotny: Interference - 2 min.
03:39Neil: High sticking - 2 min.
06:09Eaves: Interference - 2 min.
10:09Schubert: Holding - 2 min.
12:42Spacek: Holding - 2 min.
18:16Eaves: Hooking - 2 min.
05:20Roy: Hooking - 2 min.
08:11Campbell: Tripping - 2 min.
13:27Schubert: Holding - 2 min.
16:27Numminen: Hooking - 2 min.
19:41Heatley: Roughing - 2 min.
00:54Briere: High sticking - 2 min.
06:28Tallinder: Holding - 2 min.
09:15Volchenkov: Hooking - 2 min.
11:51Tallinder: Hooking - 2 min.
Buffalo1059 24
Ottawa51814 37
Martin Biron59:54343
Martin Gerber58:47204
Attendance - 19202
Game Time - 60:00
Referees - Marc Joannette, Chris Lee
Line Judges - Michel Cormier, Greg Devorski
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