OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) The Ottawa Senators are heading into their break feeling good about their game.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored two goals, leading the Senators to a 3-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Monday night.
Brady Tkachuk had a goal and two assists. Craig Anderson, making his first start since suffering a knee injury Dec. 7, stopped 43 shots.
''Getting back in there knowing I had several practices in a row where I was able to get back in the swing of things and get the rhythm back (helped),'' Anderson said. ''I think the best thing is to go out there and play and not think and that was (Monday).''
Anderson made two great saves to keep the lead, including one on Evan Rodrigues while sprawled on his back. Tkachuk added an empty-net goal to ensure the victory.
''He looked really confident,'' said Senators coach D.J. Smith. ''He held us in the game and made the saves he needed to make.''
Zemgus Girgensons scored for the Sabres (17-14-7). Linus Ullmark made 27 saves.
''We had good control early in the game, but we weren't creating the net pressure that we should have out of the puck pressure that we had,'' Sabres coach Ralph Krueger said. ''They were opportunistic on their chances. I thought (Ullmark) played a really good game, both goalies were outstanding. It was the one bounce that went their way at the end that cost us the win, but I'm proud of the guys for what they've been doing here.''
With the game tied 1-all, Pageau scored his second of the game, taking a drop pass from Connor Brown and breaking in on Ullmark. The Sabres goalie made the initial save before Pageau pounced on the rebound of a shot by Tkachuk and scored on a backhander.
Both goalies made a number of big saves in the second period, with Ullmark stopping Tyler Ennis from close range to keep it a one-goal game.
The Sabres were finally able to beat Anderson at 15:12 as Rodrigues made a backhand pass to Girgensons, who tipped it over Anderson's shoulder.
Despite being outshot 14-10 in the first period, it was the Senators (16-18-4) who took a 1-0 lead. Tkachuk sent a great pass to Pageau, who beat Ullmark.
Jack Eichel's attempt at becoming the first player in Sabres history to have a point in 19 consecutive games came to an end. Eichel came into the game with 32 points (16 goals, 16 assists) over his last 18 games.
''He's a hard player to cover,'' Pageau said. ''I think our linemate, our D-men, did a great job against him. He's obviously a talented player that cannot only create plays for himself, but for his linemates also so it's a hard line to cover, but I think (Tkachuk) drove our line.''
NOTES: Scott Sabourin will have to wait until after Christmas to make his return as he was forced to miss the game with the flu. Sabourin has not played since Nov. 2, when he suffered a concussion after colliding with Boston's David Backes. ... Buffalo was without Kyle Okposo due to illness.
Sabres: Host Boston Bruins on Friday.
Senators: Host New Jersey Devils on Sunday.
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