OTTAWA -- After watching a classic goaltending duel, Thomas Vanek decided to keep things simple in the shootout.
The strategy worked.
"Both goalies played great," Vanek said of Elliott and teammate Ryan Miller. "We kept shooting and we couldn't break either goalie."
Miller was perfect, stopping 32 shots for his second straight shutout. Miller hasn't allowed a goal in 148 minutes, 14 seconds.
Elliott was nearly as good with 31 saves, but the Senators are still searching for their offense.
Ottawa has been shut out in two consecutive games and hasn't scored in 177 minutes, 30 seconds. The Senators have won just three of their last 12 and have been outscored 38-17.
"We haven't scored in a while and sometimes you overthink things," Ottawa forward Mike Fisher said. "Sometimes it's tough. We're going to get our breaks. We're going to get rolling. We just need to work through it."
Despite the Senators' third straight loss, Ottawa coach Cory Clouston said his team's effort was much better than earlier in the week.
"The positive thing is we worked hard, we played right and we had the chances," he said. "What we need to do now is continue that and bury them."
Forward Nick Foligno said the offense is due to break out soon.
"We're happy with the way we played, and I thought we played really well defensively," Foligno said. "We did a lot of good things, and maybe in the offensive zone we just need to bear down a little bit more than we have and drive the net a bit more."
The goaltending tandem of Elliott and Pascal Leclaire has been solid this season for the Senators, but hasn't been given a lot of offensive support.
"If you're not scoring, but you're not letting any goals in that's definitely a positive," Elliott said. "We've just got to bear down. You work for your chances and I guess we just need to work a little harder and get some puck luck and we'll move forward from there."
Sabres forward Michael Grier had the best opportunity of the first period when he broke in alone on Elliott, but rang his shot off the post while his team was short-handed.
Despite a lack of goals there was plenty of action in the second period in front of a crowd of 16,364 that included Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his son.
Ottawa's best chance of the period came on a 3-on-1 rush that failed to produce a shot.
"It's just a matter of doing the little things, and if we get some messy goals I think we'll see our skill take over and our confidence come back and guys will be able to make those plays," Foligno said.
The Senators went 1-2-1 on their four-game homestand.
- D Brian Lee was a healthy scratch for the Senators.
- The Sabres were without C Tim Connolly (groin) and C Rob Niedermayer (knee).
- RW Drew Stafford and D Craig Rivet were healthy scratches.