After Adam Mair gave the Sabres the lead at 4:15 of the first period, the Senators turned up the pressure and scored seven unanswered goals in a 7-1 victory. Bryan Smolinski had a goal and two assists to help Ottawa move into a tie for the points lead in the NHL.
“It’s good, we’d love to score seven goals every night,” Smolinski said after the Senators beat the Sabres for the first time in five attempts this season. “We caught them after they had to play last night.”
“Buffalo’s played us tough,” Fisher said. “We didn’t hold back.”
Senators coach Jacques Martin needs one victory to become the 14th to reach 400 wins. He’ll try for the milestone when the teams meet again in Buffalo on Wednesday.
Adam Mair scored for Buffalo, which lost for its fourth straight. The Sabres trail the eighth-place New York Islanders by eight points in the race for the final playoff spot in the East.
Mika Noronen stopped 26 shots, but the Sabres fell to 2-1-2 against the Senators this season one night after losing at home to the Islanders.
“We started well, we got the first goal and, after that, they kept coming,” Noronen said. “From my point of view, I let in one or two easy goals and we couldn’t bounce back.”
Sabres defenseman Rory Fitzpatrick left the game in the first period with an apparent knee injury and didn’t return. His status wasn’t immediately known.
“We were down to five defensemen and there were some matchups that were in their favor,” Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff said.
Recent free-agent signing Rob Ray made his return to the NHL with Ottawa. The Senators needed toughness so they added the 35-year-old forward on Feb. 15 before assigning him to Binghamton of the AHL for conditioning.
However, it was Neil, who took an early penalty. Just seconds after it expired, Mair deflected Henrik Tallinder’s shot from the point past Lalime to make it 1-0.
Noronen had to make several good stops to maintain the lead until Alfredsson tied it in the final minute of the first period.
The Senators then scored three unanswered goals in the second, including two in a 32-second span, as they out shot the Sabres 16-5.
Redden scored while Buffalo’s Taylor Pyatt served a four-minute penalty for high-sticking midway through the period. Smolinski and Chara then struck in quick succession.
“The first period was a battle and the usual game when we play Buffalo,” Martin said. “After the first, we got some good pressure … then kind of got going in the second.”
Bondra scored his second goal since being acquired from Washington, andHossa and Neil tallied in the third.
Ottawa returned C Serge Payer to Binghamton. … The Senators have just four home games remaining. … Ray began the season doing commentary on the radio for Sabres games and working in home repair. … Since the start of the 2000-01 season, the Senators haven’t allowed more than three goals in a gameagainst the Sabres.