OTTAWA (AP)—Chris Drury figured it wouldn’t take long to settle this shootout.
Drury scored 18 seconds into overtime after Tim Connolly netted his second goal of the night with 10.7 seconds remaining in regulation and the Buffalo Sabres stunned the Ottawa Senators with a 7-6 victory Friday in a wild Eastern Conference semifinal opener.
“Down the stretch, it was pretty amazing how many goals were scored,” Drury said. “Sitting in the locker room you had the feeling it was going to be a quick end.”
The teams scored three goals in the final 1:37 of regulation as Buffalo’s Derek Roy tied it at 5 with a short-handed effort for his second goal of the game—his team-record tying fifth point—at 18:23. But Bryan Smolinski scored his second 24 seconds later during the same power play to give Ottawa its fifth straight lead, 6-5.
“It wasn’t your typical playoff game,” Roy said.
The Sabres pressed for one more, and Connolly got it as he swept a puck that lay within Ray Emery’s reach up and over the rookie goalie to shock the sellout crowd.
“We weren’t going to give up,” Connolly said. “We came back a few times during the hockey game and we’ve been able to come back all year long and we’re never going to give up until the game’s over, and I think that’s a credit to this hockey team.”
Buffalo has been scoring goals in bunches. The Sabres beat Philadelphia 7-1 to clinch the first-round series in which they also had an 8-2 victory.
The winning goal was truly sudden as Drury beat Emery with a shot from the left circle.
“We couldn’t play worse and we still had a chance to win it,” Senators coach Bryan Murray said. “I’m disappointed. We were so sloppy with the puck.”
Game 2 of the best-of-seven series won’t be until Monday because the arena is unavailable over the weekend.
Five of the game’s 13 goals were scored within the first or last minute of a period, including Mike Grier’s opener just 35 seconds in which put Buffalo up 1-0. That was the Sabres’ only lead until they won.
Mike Fisher set a Senators record for the fastest playoff goal from the start of a period when he scored 16 seconds into the third to make it 5-4. Jason Spezza and Bryan Smolinski scored 15 seconds apart early in the second, setting a Senators record for fastest two playoff goals.
“It’s disappointing,” Fisher said. “We played well throughout parts of the game, carried the play, forechecked well, skated and did some good things, but we just gave them too many chances offensively, odd-man rushes and some bad decisions defensively.
“You can’t be doing if you want to beat this team. They’re skilled, they’re offensive and they thrive on odd-man rushes and counterattacks.”
Teppo Numminen also scored for the Sabres.
Fisher, still wearing a wire face shield to protect an injury sustained in Ottawa’s first-round win over Tampa Bay, got a rebound of Wade Redden’s point shot that struck Buffalo defenseman Toni Lydman and put a shot past Miller into the left side.
The Sabres scored twice in the second despite being held to four shots in the period.
Roy, who also assisted on Numminen’s power-play goal in the first, scored his second goal of the playoffs with 30 seconds left in the frame to tie it at 4.
The teams combined for four goals in the first 6:56, including Numminen’s power-play goal which tied it at 2.
Spezza got his third of the playoffs to tie it at 3:05 and Smolinski scored at 3:20 as Ottawa took a 2-1 lead with two goals during a 4-on-4.
After Numminen tied it, the Senators came close to regaining the lead at 9:31 when a loose puck got behind Miller, but Henrik Tallinder reached down and swatted the puck away from the goal line and under the goalie’s right pad.
Ottawa had another chance later in the period when Peter Schaefer hit the right post with a backhand as he elected to shoot on a short-handed 2-on-1 with Fisher at 14:22.
The Senators broke through early in the second on Havlat’s seventh goal of the playoffs. Havlat got behind defenseman Dmitri Kalinin after taking Christoph Schubert’s long pass up the middle and deked Miller before beating him with a backhand to make it 3-2.
Connolly scored a short-handed goal at 3:29 to square it at 3 as he shot on a 2-on-1 with Paul Gaustad.
Ottawa took its third lead, 4-3, moments later when Heatley scored a power-play goal at 4:15 on the Senators’ third rebound off Redden’s point shot.
Heatley finally put the puck past Miller from the right side of the net, 5 seconds after Ottawa’s two-man advantage expired. Miller initially stopped rebound shots by Heatley and Zdeno Chara with Buffalo’s Jason Pominville still in the penalty box.
“We got the lead and then gave it up and then we came back again,” Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson said. “We did a lot of good things but we know we have to do better.”
The Sabres were scheduled to fly home after the game. They will practice in Buffalo on Saturday and Amherst, N.Y., on Sunday before returning to Ottawa. … Senators D Chris Phillips was in the lineup after missing the final game of the first round because of a left knee injury. … John Tucker had five points for Buffalo on April 10, 1988, against Boston