OTTAWA (AP)—The Ottawa Senators are paying for sluggish starts.
James Patrick scored four minutes into the second period for Buffalo. Alfredsson got his team-leading sixth goal of the season approximately eight minutes later to force the tie.
“I think early in the game we lacked intensity,” Senators defenseman Zdeno Chara said. “We didn’t come out with our ‘A’ game, and we kind of waited for them.”
Both teams created a number of scoring chances in the first period, but neither was able to finish.
“It was kind of a funny game,” Senators coach Jacques Martin said. “The first period was pretty even play. They were all over us in the start of the second and then it was us all over them, and in the third there were good opportunities on both sides.”
The Sabres opened the scoring at 3:55 of the second period. Buffalo had a three-on-one and forced Lalime to make three big saves before Patrick beat him with a shot over the shoulder.
Radek Bonk, who extended his point streak to nine games, passed the puck to Zdeno Chara, who in turn fed Alfredsson, who tied the score at 11:27 of the second.
The Senators failed to convert several good chances against Biron in the period, and were unable to capitalize on a 40-second, two-man advantage later in the game.
“We feel great coming out of here with one point,” Biron said. “This is a team that gave us struggles last year.”
While the Senators were disappointed with their performance, the Sabres were more than satisfied with getting a point.
“I’m ecstatic. I think our team played great,” Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. “We had them on the ropes and the only real momentum they got was offtheir power play. This was a good test for us and we answered the bell.”
The Senators’ best scoring chance in the first period came at the 11-minute mark, but Biron stopped a backhand shot by Alfredsson. … Buffalo had won four of its last five entering the game. … The Sabres won just once in five games against Eastern Conference champion Ottawa last season. … TheSenators entered the game averaging a league-leading 3.75 goals against.