BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP)—The Buffalo Sabres didn’t want to make team history on Tuesday night.
Despite failing to hold onto a two-goal lead, Buffalo was able to muster a 2-2 tie with the Ottawa Senators and snapped a seven-game losing streak. The losing skid was tied for the longest in franchise history.
“We didn’t quit tonight,” Sabres forward J.P. Dumont said. “We got a good effort from everyone. We’re going to win some games if we play like that.”
Dumont and rookie Derek Roy scored for Buffalo, winless in its last eight (0-7-1).
Roy’s goal was his first of his NHL career.
“I’m going to save the puck for myself,” he said.
White cut Buffalo’s lead to 2-1 with his fourth goal of the season with a minute left in the second. Vermette tied it at 2 just 29 seconds later.
The goals gave Ottawa momentum heading into the third, but Buffalo showed their resiliency in garnering a point for the first time since a 3-2 win in Chicago on Dec. 3.
“It was easy for us to say ‘not again’ but we didn’t lay back,” Dumont said. “It was a big point for us.”
Roy, playing in just his fourth game of his career, assisted in a Buffalo attack that registered 14 shots on Senators goaltender Patrick Lalime in the third, and added five more in overtime.
“You can’t feel happy,” Roy said. “It’s unfortunate they scored a couple of goals. We have to tighten our system and tighten up our game. But we worked hard and it’s encouraging.”
Buffalo goalie Mika Noronen, making his second career start against the Senators, made 31 saves.
Lalime stopped 36 shots for Ottawa.
“We were fortunate to get those two late goals to pull even for the third,” White said. “We didn’t have a good first 30 minutes so to be tied at 2 was fortunate.”
Roy gave the Sabres a 1-0 lead at 16:48 of the first, beating Lalime with a backhand from the slot.
“As soon as the puck went in I shook my head because I couldn’t believe it went in,” he said. “I just fired the puck toward the net and hoped it went in.”
Dumont’s team-leading 11th goal of the year put Buffalo up 2-0 just barely over a minute into the second after his wicked slap shot from the right circle beat Lalime.
The Senators were finally able to solve Noronen late in the second.
White, who scored the winner in Ottawa’s overtime victory over Florida on Monday, cut Buffalo’s lead to 2-1 with 1:01 left in the second. After skating from behind the goal line to 3 feet in front of the net, White lifted a quick shot over Noronen’s shoulder.
Vermette tied the score with his second goal in as many games. Vermette’s wrist shot from the right circle snuck past Noronen and into the net.
“We expected them to come out hard because of their situation and they did,” Lalime said. “They were a desperate team.”
The Sabres are winless in their last six games at home (0-5-1), but coach Lindy Ruff liked what he saw against a team that Buffalo has had some success with.
The Sabres are 1-0-2 this season against Ottawa and improved to 7-2-2 at home when facing the Senators.
“We had a real good effort out of a lot of different guys,” Ruff said. “It’s tough to have a two-goal lead and not win, but from an effort standpoint, you can see that we won’t be out of it.”
Lalime preserved the tie with a pad save on Miroslav Satan, who walked in alone and tried deking the goaltender with 3 seconds remaining in overtime after corralling Chris Phillips’ turnover in the slot.
“It was a very quick turnover so I just wanted to challenge him,” Lalime said.
Ottawa has been the opposite of Buffalo during the month of December. Tuesday’s tie improved the Senators’ record to 7-2-2 since the beginning of themonth.
Coming into the game, the Sabres were just 7-for-84 with the man advantage (8.3 percent) since Nov. 1. They were 0-for-4 on Tuesday … Ottawa RW Daniel Alfredsson made his NHL debut, and recorded an assist, against Buffalo on Oct. 7, 1995. … Buffalo C Chris Drury sat out his second game with a separated shoulder. He is expected to miss the next three to five days. … Ottawa’s Jacques Martin is the longest-serving coach in the NHL while Ruff hasthe league’s third-longest tenure.