OTTAWA -- The offensively challenged Ottawa Senators needed a heroic performance from their early season MVP to keep their losing streak from reaching three games.
Craig Anderson rose to the occasion.
After watching Saturday's 1-0 loss to the Winnipeg Jets from the bench, Anderson returned to the crease for his 11th start in 13 games. He made it his best, kicking aside 42 shots as the Senators defeated the Buffalo Sabres 2-0 Tuesday night at Scotiabank Place.
It was Anderson's second shutout of the season and 21st of his career. He out-dueled Ryan Miller, who made 29 saves.
"We found a way to get the win," said Anderson, whose busiest period was the third, when he stopped 15 shots. "We got some traffic, got to the net. Miller is a terrific goaltender and with hard work tonight we were able to get a couple on him. Luckily, our defense and penalty kill took over the rest of the game."
Erik Karlsson and Erik Condra scored the goals, both coming in the second period.
The loss was the fifth in their past seven games for the Sabres (5-8-1).
"It was tough," said Sabres winger Marcus Foligno. "We got 40-plus shots at him. We hit a post, we had some empty nets, too. Just the bounces ... it was a tough one."
The Senators (7-4-2) entered the night having scored seven times in their previous five games, four of which came in a victory over the Sabres exactly a week earlier.
Included in the hardships were a pair of 1-0 shutouts at the hands of backup goalies. They were missing top center Jason Spezza, who watched from the press box while recovering from back surgery.
"It was good to come out and get our confidence back a little bit," said Condra. "We played our game a lot more.
"(Anderson) saves us when we're not doing so well. We always know we've got him back there. But we need to put a few in. We can't win a game 0-0."
The Senators' power play struggled, failing to take advantage of eight chances. Buffalo was 0 for 4 with the man advantage.
"Our best players are killing penalties," Sabres winger Steve Ott said, referring to Jason Pominville and Cody Hodgson. "We need those guys with more energy in the third period, because of the high-end talent they are. We're taking undisciplined penalties, they're killing off and wasting energy."
Karlsson was a dominant force, taking nine shots on goal.
The defending Norris Trophy winner scored his team-leading sixth goal of the season, and the first short-handed goal of his career, with a hard shot from just outside the right wing faceoff circle to break a scoreless deadlock 15:20 into the second period.
It was the Senators' first goal in a span of 121:15, dating back two games, and it was quickly followed by another.
Condra picked up his second of the season 1:54 later, swatting home a puck that found him in the slot.
The way Anderson was playing, that was all the Senators would need.
Anderson, who has the best goals-against average and save percentage of any No. 1 goalie in the league, kept his team in the game the first 20 minutes, when the Senators were outshot 13-7 despite having a couple of power plays. His most incredible stop was off Steve Ott, whose shot was floating toward an open net before Anderson reached back and knocked it away.
"I tried to control my rebounds as best as possible," said Anderson. "The guys in front are doing a great job with blocks, and cleaning up any mess in front, and allowing me to see the puck most of the time."
With Buffalo defenseman Christian Ehrhoff in the box, Miller made huge first period saves off Mika Zibanejad and Daniel Alfredsson, then got lucky as a puck bounced over Kyle Turris' stick as Turris was poised to swat it into an open side.
NOTES: The Senators left immediately after the game for Pittsburgh for a Wednesday night game. The Sabres begin a three-game homestand against the Boston Bruins on Friday. ... Alfredsson is tied with Dallas Stars winger Jaromir Jagr as the greatest Buffalo slayer of all time. Both players have 42 career goals against the Sabres, more than anyone else, although Alfredsson has played 88 games vs. Buffalo while Jagr has suited up for 76. ... Sabres defenseman Tyler Myers was back in the lineup after sitting out the previous two games as a healthy scratch. "I've had a couple of really good meetings with him, trying to get his head in the right place, being ready to play," coach Lindy Ruff said of Myers, a former first-round pick who has one goal and a team worst minus-9 rating through 12 games. "Now it's up to him." ... With Spezza recovering from surgery, his assistant captain's "A' has been worn by the player whom coach Paul MacLean feels earns it on a daily basis. Against the Sabres, it was on the sweater of defenseman Marc Methot, who was playing just his 13th game for Ottawa. ... John Scott, T.J. Brennan and Alexander Sulzer were the Sabres' scratches. Andre Benoit was the Senators' designated sitter.