Sabres 6, Senators 2
OTTAWA (AP)—The Ottawa Senators picked a poor time to suddenly look ordinary with the playoffs coming up.
The win allowed Buffalo to get within six points of Ottawa for the Northeast Division lead. Buffalo has four games left to play while the Senators have five.
The Senators have lost three straight games for the first time all season.
“Everything caught up to us tonight,” said Senators coach Bryan Murray. “We were behind them all night.”
Ryan Miller was solid in net for the Sabres, making 30 saves. Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff was pleased with the way Miller rebounded from Friday’s loss with a strong effort.
“I liked the way he played the game,” said Ruff. “He really had a sound game. I’m getting happy with where the team’s at right now.”
Patrick Eaves and Daniel Alfredsson scored for the Senators (50-19-8), who let up six goals for the first time this season. Ray Emery started the game in goal, but was pulled after allowing four goals on 22 shots. Mike Morrison allowed the other two goals.
“Ray looked a little shaky on some, but no one (was playing that well),” said Murray. “We weren’t playing the game the way we’re supposed to win the game.”
The Sabres (48-24-6) opened the scoring 77 seconds into the first period as Drury collected a rebound and beat Emery through the legs.
Eaves picked up his 19th of the season on the power play to tie the game, but just over a minute later Connolly regained the lead for Buffalo.
The Sabres dominated the second period, scoring three goals to chase Emery from the game.
Pyatt made it 3-1 at the 3-minute mark of the period beating Emery, who was making his 21st straight start, high glove side. McKee’s goal just over three minutes later ended Emery’s night.
“I didn’t think I made any huge mistakes,” said Emery. “When things aren’t going in your favor you’ve got to do anything you can to change that.”
Morrison came on in relief, marking his second appearance in a Senators uniform since being picked up off waivers from Edmonton at the trade deadline.
Jason Spezza scored his 41st goal to cut the deficit to 4-2 before Kalinin and Connolly closed out the scoring.
“Spezza turned it over and they took it and scored the fifth goal,” said Alfredsson candidly. “That really took the momentum away.
“We’ve got to play smarter and not give odd-man rushes like we do. We can’t turn it over time after time.”
With the loss the Senators wrapped up its season series against the Sabres with a 5-1-2 record.
The Senators were without D Wade Redden (personal reasons), RW Martin Havlat (shoulder), D Zdeno Chara (hand) D Chris Phillips (left knee sprain) and G Dominik Hasek (adductor muscle) RW Brian McGrattan was a healthy scratch. … Buffalo was without C Adam Mair (concussion), C Jochen Hecht (knee), D Teppo Numminen (knee) and LW Andrew Peters was a healthy scratch.