Ottawa at Buffalo

Sabres score early to knock off league-leading Senators wire reports

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Buffalo Sabres don't mind the underdog role this season. Actually, they have little choice.

The Sabres, last season's President's Trophy winner, entered the game two points out of last place in the Eastern Conference and 17 points behind league-leading Ottawa, but received a big boost with a solid 4-2 win over the Senators on Wednesday night.

Derek Roy and Drew Stafford each had a goal and assist, and Buffalo scored three times in the first period to win for the second consecutive time after losing three in a row.

The game marked the first meeting in Buffalo since Daniel Alfredsson's overtime goal in Game 5 of last season's Eastern Conference finals sent the Senators to the Stanley Cup Finals.

"We know that teams gun for teams when they are at the top," Roy said. "So it's pretty obvious -- we're at the bottom of the standings and they're at the top."

The Sabres have started fast the past two games, scoring three times in the opening period in each. Not coincidentally, they won both times, something they haven't done much this season after posting a league-high 53 victories a year ago.

"We've got two in a row now, and we have to keep this rolling," Roy said.

Ales Kotalik and Michael Ryan also scored, and Ryan Miller, making his seventh consecutive start, finished with 27 saves -- 15 in the second period -- for Buffalo. He was helped in the third when Senators center Chris Kelly hit the post following a deke with 13:30 left while Ottawa was short-handed.

"It was a good start for us," Miller said. "We've had to fight back a lot lately, but tonight we did a good job establishing our game early. We were hungry."

Alfredsson and Dany Heatley scored for the Senators, who have lost two of three. Ottawa, which has an NHL-high 32 points, lost for just the fourth time overall.

"The games that we've played against them all three years, whoever's doing well doesn't matter," Heatley said. "The games have been intense and tough. They jumped on us early and we couldn't recover from that 3-0 lead."

The Senators also lost two-way forward Patrick Eaves for what coach John Paddock said was "not short term" after he separated his shoulder colliding awkwardly with Buffalo defenseman Brian Campbell late in the first period.

The Sabres peppered Ottawa goalie Ray Emery with 14 shots in the first period. Ryan scored his first just 1:26 in, and Roy capped the flurry with his seventh of the season with 38 seconds left.

Ottawa responded with a pair of goals in a two-minute span midway through the second period to cut the deficit to 3-2. Alfredsson scored his 16th of the season, capitalizing on a giveaway by Buffalo defenseman Henrik Tallinder, and Heatley followed with his 10th while the Senators were on the power play.

Buffalo regained its two-goal lead when Stafford converted Thomas Vanek's slick pass with 2:36 left in the middle period.

Emery, making just his second start in eight games and fourth overall, allowed four or more goals for the third time. He finished with 27 saves and lost his second in a row.

"The first period is what sank our ship," Emery said. "After that they just played well enough to maintain their lead."

The Sabres were bolstered by the return of center Tim Connolly, who came in tied for second on the team with 12 points. Connolly had missed five games because of a strained oblique.


  • Buffalo will wrap up a three-game homestand Friday against Montreal.
  • Senators forward Randy Robitaille didn't play because of a bruised left hand.
  • Stafford sustained an upper-body injury in the third period and didn't return, but coach Lindy Ruff said it was nothing serious.
  • Miller earned his fifth career assist on Kotalik's goal in the first period.
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Michael Ryan (center) doesn't mind being sandwiched after scoring his first goal of the season.  (AP)
Michael Ryan (center) doesn't mind being sandwiched after scoring his first goal of the season. (AP)
Ottawa (16-4-0)0202
Buffalo  (8-10-1) «3104
Three Stars
T. Vanek

Goals: 0
Assist(s): 2
R. Miller

Saves: 27
Save Pct.: .931
M. Ryan

Goals: 1
Assist(s): 0

Related Video

Scoring Summary
01:26Michael Ryan (1), Tip-In. Assist: Daniel Paille, Paul Gaustad
09:29Power Play - Ales Kotalik (5), Snap Shot. Assist: Ryan Miller
19:22Derek Roy (7), Tip-In. Assist: Thomas Vanek, Drew Stafford
09:28Daniel Alfredsson (16), Wrist Shot. Assist: Jason Spezza
11:30Power Play - Dany Heatley (10), Slap Shot. Assist: Joe Corvo, Wade Redden
17:24Drew Stafford (4), Wrist Shot. Assist: Thomas Vanek, Derek Roy
Penalty Summary
07:44Spezza, 2 min, Goaltender Interference
01:33Miller, 2 min, Interference
11:24Kotalik, 2 min, Tripping
18:54Heatley, 2 min, Elbowing
06:02Fisher, 2 min, High-Sticking
14:17Hecht, 2 min, Slashing
18:16Redden, 2 min, Slashing
Shots On Goal
Ray Emery59:08274
Ryan Miller59:50272
Game Information
Attendance - 18690
Referees - Gord Dwyer, Dean Warren
Linesmen - Pierre Champoux, Mark Shewchyk
Other Games
Mon 4 Final
Fla 5 Final
Colu 2
Atl 5 Final
Wash 1
Van 4 Final
Min 2
LA 1 Final
Pho 4
Phi 6 Final
Car 3
NJ 2 Final
Pitt 1
Ana 1 Final
Dal 2
NYR 2 Final
TB 1
StL 0 Final
Det 3