Peter Schaefer and Dany Heatley each had a goal and an assist, and Ray Emery made 23 saves as the Senators beat the Sabres 4-1 Saturday night and handed Buffalo its first road defeat in 11 games this season.
“We haven’t exactly been playing great and we’re not where we want to be in the standings so it’s a huge win. Now we just have to regroup and get ready for the next one,” Schaefer said.
Maxim Afinogenov had the lone goal for Buffalo, which set the NHL record by starting 10-0 on the road.
Three third-period goals were the difference as the Senators dominated the Sabres over the final 40 minutes. Trailing 11-9 in shots after the first period, the Senators held a 32-13 edge over the final two frames.
“We’ve been struggling, so it was nice to get the win,” Phillips said. “You don’t want to say those four-point games are important in November, but they really are. Division games are huge and if we can win those we can climb up faster.”
Ryan Miller, playing his first game after missing five with a muscle strain, made 37 saves.
“The second period is kind of where we needed to answer the bell, and if we kept moving like we did in the first I think it might have been a different game,” Miller said.
Heatley broke a 1-1 tie 1:22 into the third period with the Senators’ second power-play goal of the game. They finished 2-for-9 with the man advantage, while the Sabres went 0-5.
Vermette gave the Senators a 3-1 lead at 14:50, and Phillips closed out the scoring. He took a pass from Heatley after stepping out of the penalty box and beat Miller high on a breakaway with just under 3 minutes left.
“The second period for us has not been good at all so we definitely wanted to change that,” Senators center Mike Fisher said. “We talked about it and we came out strong. We gave up that goal late in the first which was kind of a bad bounce, but we came out from there and just played our game. We skated hard, hit hard, we all game together and it started with great goaltending.”
The first period was scoreless until the final seconds. Vermette won a faceoff against Chris Drury, but he swatted the puck with his glove into the slot where Afinogenov fired a one-timer past Emery as time expired.
The only goal of the second period came on the power play as Schaefer popped a rebound over Miller’s shoulder at 5:11.
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